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Intel, Mellanox, Vello aim for optical networking standards

Posted: 13 Mar 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel? Mellanox? Vello Systems? optical network? silicon photonics?

Intel, Mellanox and Vello Systems have revealed their respective standards efforts geared for optical networking. The companies aim to bring order to the rising surge of data at various points through Internet data centres and carrier networks.

Intel announced MXC optical connector products will be available from companies including Corning, US Conec, TE Connectivity and Molex. MXC can transmit data at 1.6Tb/s using 64 fibres at 25Gb/s at distances up to 300m.

For its part, Intel plans to use MXC for silicon photonics products inside data centre racks and switches. Corning is sampling MXC cable assemblies that will be in production in the fall. TE Connectivity and Molex also will build and sell MXC assemblies.

US Conec will sell MXC parts to Corning and others and provide a certification program for the link. A Microsoft data centre manager expressed support for MXC.

In September, Intel demonstrated MXC cables and its silicon photonics boosting bandwidth and lowering cost in a rack of computers. Mario Paniccia, Intel's leading researcher on silicon photonics, called MXC "a core building block for optical (or photonic) communications [that] will help define the way data centres are built in the future."

Separately, startup Ranovus Inc. and networking specialist Mellanox Technologies launched a multi-source agreement (MSA) for a 100Gb/s wavelength-division multiplexing interconnect supporting distances up to 2km. The OpenOptics MSA can use 1550nm wavelength optics, WDM lasers and silicon photonics in a QSFP-28 package.

The link supports 4 x 25Gb/s WDM links over a single pair of singlemode fibres and can scale to 400Gb/s and beyond. The interconnect can reducing the fibre costs in a data centre "by four to seven times compared to legacy multimode fibre implementations," said Saeid Aramideh, chief marketing and sales officer for Ranovus.

Taking a different approach to enhancing optical networks, Vello Systems announced the Open Source Optical Forum. The group supports open-source software for the OpenFlow 1.4 standard of software-defined networking. Current members of the group include Accelink, Coadna, CrossFiber, O-Net, PacketLight and Pacnet.

Initially, some members will port OSO software to their existing optical systems, making them compatible with OpenFlow controllers and applications. Other members may build next-generation optical systems based on OpenFlow.

The open-source effort "has the potential to radically change the data centre interconnect market enabling low-cost, white box approaches to optical connectivity that operators ultimately crave," said Ron Kline, a principal analyst at market watcher Ovum.

Among other standards efforts at OFC, Finisar demonstrated components for the CFP4 interconnect. CFP4 uses 4 x 25Gb/s links to support 100Gb/s connections on optical systems. OFC marks "a big introduction for the form factor," said Finisar technologist Chris Cole.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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