Applied Optoelectronics proves OBO feasibility, samples 400G silicon-photonics optical module

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Applied Optoelectronics (AOI) is demonstrating the feasibility of its silicon photonics platform for the requirements of on-board optics (OBO) by sampling 400G optical modules based on silicon-photonics technology.

The modules are designed to meet these requirements as outlined in specifications such as the recently-released version 1.1 of the onboard optical module specification published by the Consortium for Onboard Optics (COBO).

OBO modules can be used in higher-speed data switches, with interface speeds ranging from 400Gb/s to 1.6Tb/s. By designing these modules to be mated directly to a circuit board within such a switch, an increase in the density of optical interfaces to the switch is enabled. This in turn enables greater data throughput through the switch fabric, while also simplifying cooling and electrical interfaces.

The sample OBO modules are specifically designed for customers developing next-generation switches for large data centres, as these switches gradually evolve from 100Gb/s interconnects to 400Gp/s, and higher. They leverage new silicon-based optical technology to support 16 optical channels with a total data throughput of 400Gb/s. Future versions of the device, however, are expected to use the same technology, but increase the bandwidth up to 100Gb/s per optical channel, ultimately enabling 1.6Tb/s of data throughput over a single OBO module. In turn, this would enable next-generation 12.8Tb/s switches to use only eight optical modules, significantly improving density and reducing power consumption compared to a similar solution, which would require 32 400Gb/s pluggable modules.

David Chen, AOI’s AVP of transceiver technology said: ‘This OBO module incorporates several new technologies, including an advanced silicon-photonics based optical sub-assembly, which are the culmination of years of R&D effort by AOI and our technology partners. We believe that this platform will enable solutions well beyond 400Gb/s, and eventually, 1.6Tb/s.”

Added Brad Booth, president of the Consortium for On-Board Optics: ‘AOI has made significant progress on the development of OBO modules since the publication of revision 1.0 of COBO’s specification. Having a single module footprint that supports bandwidth scaling from 400Gb/s to 1.6Tb/s provides flexibility to equipment vendors.’

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