Microchip and Cisco-Acacia Collaborate to Progress 400G Pluggable Coherent Optics
Bandwidth growth, driven by the expansion of data centers and 5G network build-outs, is expected to drive the need for faster coherent Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) pluggable optics. Consequently, Data Center Interconnect (DCI) and metro Optical Transport Network (OTN) platforms are transitioning from 100/200G to 400G pluggable coherent optical modules to support these hyper-connected architectures.
Microchip Technology (a fabless semiconductor company) and Cisco’s Acacia unit are working together to validate the interoperability of their 400G pluggable optics components – Microchip’s DIGI-G5 OTN processor and META-DX1 terabit secured-Ethernet PHY and Acacia’s 400G pluggable coherent optics.
The purpose of the collaboration is to establish an ecosystem to support 400G CFP2-DCO, QSFP-DD and OSFP modules for the 400ZR specification as well as the OpenZR+ and Open ROADM Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) applications.
The collaboration between Microchip and Acacia helps to enable the use of 400G coherent pluggable optics in OTN and Ethernet systems as follows:
- For converged packet/OTN optical platforms, Microchip’s DIGI-G5 and Acacia’s 400G CFP2-DCO module are designed to enable terabit-class OTN switching line cards, mux/transponders, and switch/transponders. The DIGI-G5 interoperates with Acacia’s 400G CFP2-DCO module using a Flexible OTN (FlexO) or NxOTU4 interface to efficiently support OTN traffic, including Open ROADM MSA interface modes and 200G/400G ITU-T standards currently being drafted.
- For compact modular optical systems, Microchip’s META-DX1 and Acacia’s 400ZR and OpenZR+ modules are designed to enable 400G flexible line rate muxponders/transponders with support for multiple client optics types including QSFP28, QSFP-DD, and OSFP modules, helping service providers to transition from 100 GbE to 400 GbE using the same hardware.
- For data center routing and switching platforms, Microchip’s META-DX1 and Acacia’s 400ZR and OpenZR+ modules are designed to enable dense 400 GbE or FlexE with per port MACsec encryption coherent line cards. This helps customers leverage IP routers/switches over DWDM (IPoDWDM) infrastructure in DCI deployments.
“DIGI-G5 and META-DX1 have enabled our optical transport, IP routing and Ethernet switching customers to implement a new class of multi-terabit OTN switching and high-density 100/400 GbE and FlexE line cards that deliver on stringent packet timing and integrated security capabilities for the build out of cloud and carrier 5G-ready optical networks,” said Babak Samimi, vice president for Microchip’s Communications business unit. “Our interoperability efforts with Acacia help to demonstrate that an ecosystem for volume deployment of these new line cards with pluggable 400G coherent optics exists.”
“With Acacia’s 400G coherent modules verified to interoperate with Microchip’s DIGI-G5 and META-DX1 devices, we see it as a robust solution designed to address network capacity growth and improved efficiency,” said Markus Weber, senior director DSP, product line management of Acacia, now part of Cisco. “The compact size and power efficiency of our 400G OpenZR+ CFP2-DCO modules were designed to help network operators deploy and scale capacity of high-bandwidth DWDM connectivity between data centers and in metro networks.”
Kevin So, associate director of product line management and marketing at Microchip, told Fierce Telecom that the pair have a history of collaboration that goes back to work on 100G. He said their latest effort is meant to proactively eliminate elements of risk operators face as they begin to upgrade to the latest 400G technology. While most solutions are based on industry standards, So cautioned that’s not always a guarantee that components from different companies will work well together.
“I’ve seen in our industry often standards are written, people think things are going to work and then you show up at a carrier lab and that’s when you discover problems. Standards still do not necessarily always ensure everything is interoperable ready to go, and it can be a barrier for ultimately our customers and service providers in deploying it,” Mr. So said.
The companies stated they successfully validated interoperability between their respective components for 400G, ZR and OpenZR+ configurations in converged packet and OTN optical platforms, compact modular optical systems and data center routing and switching platforms.
So said Microchip’s work with Acacia started in the pre-silicon stage, ensuring the interfaces and designs they were pursuing were compatible. Once the silicon in question became available, the pair “tested these components together as a system to make sure it’s robust enough.”
Tom Williams, director of marketing for Acacia told Fierce Telecom, “This interop testing demonstrates that leading vendors are working together to streamline the integration process. There wasn’t any expectation of issues, but it builds confidence to know that the vendors have already done this work directly.”
For more information about the Microchip products, contact a Microchip sales representative, authorized worldwide distributor, or visit the DIGI-G5 and META-DX1 pages.
For more information on Acacia’s 400G coherent pluggable optical solutions, visit acacia-inc.com/products/.
For additional information on standards:
- For OpenZR+ MSA visit openzrplus.org
- For Open ROADM MSA visit openroadm.org
- For 400ZR visit www.oiforum.com/technical-work/hot-topics/400zr-2/