Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Nokia's PSE-3 chipset leverages probabilistic constellation shaping

Nokia unveiled its Photonic Service Engine 3 chipset featuring probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) that pushes fiber-optic performance close to the Shannon limit to fully exploit channel capacity.

PCS is a new modulation technique pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs that the company says enables maximum capacity over any distance and on any fiber - from metro to subsea - increasing capacity up to 65% over currently deployed networks while reducing power by 60%. This includes 200G rates over most terrestrial and subsea links, as 400G over most shorter distances.

The PSE-3 chipset, which is the first coherent digital signal processor to implement PCS, provides finely adjustable wavelength capacity from 100G to 600G with a single, uniform modulation format, baud rate, and channel size. This simplifies network operations and planning.

"This is a breakthrough in how we can maximize the performance of optical networks and, at the same time, vastly simplify operations. The Photonic Service Engine 3 is the culmination of a decade of research and first-hand experience building the largest, highest capacity optical networks in the world. By introducing this extreme and yet remarkably simple programmability, our customers can now maximize the capacity of every link in their network, whether that's 10 km, 10,000 km or beyond. They will be able to keep their costs under control while handling the huge bandwidth demands that video, cloud, and soon 5G will be throwing at them."

Nokia is planning to introduce the PSE-3 chipset across ist packet-optical portfolio, including a new version of the 1830 Photonic Service Interconnect, a compact modular WDM platform for data center interconnect. The 1830 PSI-M will use modular chassis architecture with high-performance modules based pm the PSE-3. Commercial availability is expected in Q3 2018.


In March 2016, Nokia announced significant enhancements to its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) portfolio, including the introduction of a new Photonic Service Engine version 2 (PSE-2) chip that enables the platform to double wavelength capacities and wavelengths per fiber. The new electro-optic chipset PSE-2 is available in two versions:
  • the PSE-2 Super Coherent (PSE-2s) provides performance and flexibility for applications with very high traffic demands and potentially challenging distance requirements. It can be programmed with seven unique modulation formats to support optimized 100G to 500G transport wavelength capacities, and distances for applications ranging from metro to ultra-long haul - including the industry's first 400G single carrier, the first 200G long haul and the first 100G ultra-long haul. The PSE-2s lowers cost per bit per kilometer by maximizing capacity for every distance while using 50 percent less power.
  • the PSE-2 Compact (PSE-2c) is optimized for 100G DWDM applications where density, space, and low power are paramount, including metro access and aggregation networks. The PSE-2c design creates more compact line cards that support "pay as you grow" pluggable optics while consuming 66 percent less power.

NeoPhotonics shows 64 GBaud for 600G and 1.2T coherent transport

NeoPhotonics is currently shipping a suite of 64 GBaud optical components for coherent systems operating at 600G and 1.2T.  64 GBaud components double the symbol rate over standard 100G (32 GBaud) coherent systems.

The NeoPhotonics suite use three optical components to enable single channel 600G or dual channel 1.2T transmission:

  • 64 GBaud CDM -- NeoPhotonics 64 GBaud, polarization multiplexed, quadrature coherent driver modulator (CDM) is shipping in limited availability and features a co-packaged InP modulator with a linear, high bandwidth, differential driver in a compact package designed to be compliant with the anticipated OIF Implementation Agreement. Co-packaging the InP IQ modulator with the driver enables an 85% reduction in line card board space compared to equivalent lithium niobate solutions. Furthermore, this facilitates transceiver applications up to 600 Gbps on a single wavelength for next-generation transport modules..
  • 64 GBaud Micro-ICR -- NeoPhotonics Class 40 High Bandwidth Micro-Intradyne Coherent Receiver (Micro-ICR) is in volume production and is designed for 64 GBaud symbol rates, doubling the RF bandwidth of standard 100G ICRs. The 64 GBaud Micro-ICR supports higher order modulation such as 64 QAM. The compact package is designed to be compliant with the OIF Implementation Agreement OIF-DPC-MRX-02.0.
  • Low Profile Micro-TL -- NeoPhotonics ultra-narrow linewidth external cavity tunable laser has been proven in volume production and is now configured in a smaller, lower profile package, which is designed to meet the stringent requirements for packaging density in pluggable modules. The external cavity laser design has a significantly narrower linewidth than competing designs, which is especially advantageous for higher order modulation formats. The laser is available in a compact package Integrable Tunable Laser Assembly form factor designed to be compliant with the OIF Implementation Agreements OIF-MicroITLA-01.1 and OIF-ITLA-MSA-01.3.

NeoPhotonics said its solution supports transmission over data center interconnect (DCI) distances of up to 80 km. The components also support 400G over metro distances of 400-600 km using 64 GBaud and 16 QAM or 200G over long-haul distances of greater than 1000 km using 64 GBaud and QPSK.

“All three elements of our suite of optical components for 600G and 1.2T are now available and shipping to customers, allowing them to take advantage of the performance of all three elements to optimize their system performance,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics. “We ensure that each element is designed to work seamlessly with the others and offer our customers a complete optical solution, both increasing performance and reducing development time” continued Mr. Jenks.

Oclaro ships 100G PAM4 EML laser chips

Oclaro announced general market availability of its 100G PAM4 EA-DFB EML chips for next-generation, transceiver applications, enabling 100G per wavelength and paving the way for 200 Gbps and 400 Gbps in data center networks.

The new 100G PAM4 EML laser chips operating at 53 Gbaud with up to 40Ghz bandwidth (@ 20°C) and 6dB extinction ratio (@70°C).

Oclaro also announced additional wafer fab capacity upgrades for DML and EML laser production, providing greater availability for its world-class components. This newly installed production capacity will enable Oclaro to satisfy the increasing demand for cost-effective high-speed transceivers.

"Oclaro's proven laser technology has been the benchmark for high-performance and reliability, and is ideally suited to support the PAM4 modulation formats used to deliver higher-speed networks affordably," said Yves LeMaitre, Chief Strategy Officer of Oclaro. "With the explosive growth of large scale data centers, the demand for these lasers has never been greater and by increasing our manufacturing capacity, Oclaro can ensure its customers have the supply they need to be successful."

Broadcom delivers 400G Reverse Gearbox

Broadcom announced commercial availability of a 400G gearbox device for hyperscale data center and cloud applications.

The new BCM81724 device, which is Broadcom’s 4th generation gearbox, is an 8x56-Gbps PAM-4 to 16x25-Gbps NRZ forward and reverse gearbox, designed to enable next-generation high-performance switches with PAM-4 I/Os to connect to the large existing ecosystem of switches and plug-in modules with NRZ interface.

It can also be configured as an 8x56-Gbps PAM-4 retimer to extend high-speed copper and optical links in modern networks.

Broadcom said the availability of new switch ASICs and ASSPs such as its Tomahawk 3, provides a bridge connecting the high-bandwidth 400G PAM-4 interface of the switch to the NRZ interface on existing 100G QSFP28 optical modules. Further, given the general availability of copper-based NRZ modules supporting 100 Gbps in existing systems, it is essential to have a reverse gearbox that enables next-generation switches to connect to these modules.

“With the introduction of switches such as the Tomahawk 3 with 56G I/Os that are critical to meeting the rapidly increasing bandwidth needs in today’s cloud computing and hyper-scale data center environments, the BCM81724 is essential to interface these next generation high density switches to the existing 100G optical module ecosystem,” said Lorenzo Longo, senior vice president and general manager of the Physical Layer Products Division at Broadcom. “Built with proven PAM-4 SerDes that are foundational to Broadcom’s state-of-the-art switch processor chips, both merchant silicon and ASICs, our 16nm PAM-4 Reverse Gearbox provides the most robust and essential bridge for the end-to-end solutions driving faster time to market for our customers and expanding bandwidth capacity of next generation networks.”

Broadcom delivers its 12.8 Tbps Tomahawk 3 switching silicon

Broadcom announced commercial shipments of its StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 Ethernet switch silicon boasting 12.8 Terabits/sec in a single device -- double that of any other switching chip currently in the market.

Tomahawk 3 paves the way for high-density, standards-based 400GbE, 200GbE, and 100GbE switching and routing for hyperscale cloud networks. The latest gen silicon is expected to be adopted by leading network equipment OEMs as well as by hyperscale cloud companies.

Third party companies cited in the product announcement included Microsoft, Alibaba, Arista Networks, Baidu, Juniper Networks, LinkedIn, Tencent, Accton, Celestica, Delta Networks, Quanta, Applied Optoelectronics, Foxconn Interconnect Technologies, Intel Silicon Photonics, and Luxtera.

The new chip, which arrives 14 months after Broadcom introduced its 6.4Tbps product generation, offers 40% lower power consumption per 100GbE switch port and up to 75% lower cost per 100GbE switch port.

Key features of the StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 Series:

  • Supports 32 x 400GbE, 64 x 200GbE, or 128 x 100GbE line-rate switching and routing on a single chip
  • Delivers 40% reduction in power per 100Gbps, and up to 75% lower cost per 100Gbps, versus alternatives
  • New, state-of-the-art, integrated 12.8Tbps shared-buffer architecture offers 3X to 5X higher incast absorption and provides the highest performance and lowest end-to-end latency for RoCEv2 based workloads
  • Broadview Gen 3 integrated network instrumentation feature set and software suite provides full visibility to network operators into packet flow behavior, traffic management state, and switch internal performance
  • Supports all packet processing and traffic management requirements for next-gen hyperscale network use cases: >2X IP route forwarding scale, 2X ECMP scale, Dynamic Load Balancing and Group Multipathing, In-Band Network Telemetry, Elephant Flow detection and re-prioritization
  • Robust connectivity using 256 instances of the best performing and longest-reach 50G PAM-4 integrated SerDes core, enabling long-reach (LR) East-West optical links and Direct-Attached-Copper (DAC) in-rack cabling in the data center, fully compliant to new IEEE standards for 50/100/200/400GbE
  • Implemented on proven, high-volume 16nm process technology node, ensuring fastest time to CY2018 production network deployment for hyperscale customers 


Mellanox debuts its Onyx Ethernet Network Operating System

Mellanox Technologies released a next-generation Ethernet network operating system for its Mellanox Spectrum Open Ethernet switches.

Mellanox Onyx OS provides a rich Layer-3 feature set with built-in dynamic routing protocols such as BGP/OSFP. It features a robust control plane and 64-way ECMP support, which Mellanox says can be used to construct large, scale-out L3 fabrics for data centers.

Additional capabilities include:

  • support for standard DevOps tools like Ansible and Puppet
  • smart hooks to automate network provisioning for high-performance workloads such as storage and artificial intelligence
  • support to run containerized applications on the switch system itself
  • buffer and link monitoring that leverage Mellanox Spectrum’s unique silicon level capabilities.

The Mellanox Onyx OS is aimed at cloud, hyperscale, enterprise, media & entertainment, storage, and high-performance Ethernet-based interconnect applications.

“Mellanox Onyx brings leading management, provisioning, automation and network visibility to data centers and cloud infrastructures, to deliver the best scalability, performance and overall return on investment,” said Yael Shenhav, vice president of products at Mellanox Technologies. “Mellanox Onyx also offers a mature Layer-3 feature-set, with integrated support for standard Devops tools, allowing customers to run third party containerized applications with complete SDK access. By utilizing Mellanox Onyx’s leading capabilities, our customers can enjoy the benefits of an industry-standard Layer-2 and Layer3 feature-set along with the ability to customize and optimize the network to their specific needs.”

Ciena posts quarterly revenue of $646.1 million, up 4% yoy

Ciena reported revenue of $646.1 million for the first quarter of its fiscal 2018, up 4% as compared to $621.5 million for the fiscal first quarter 2017.

Ciena's fiscal first quarter 2018 GAAP results include a non-cash $476.9 million charge related to the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As a result, Ciena's GAAP net loss for the fiscal first quarter 2018 was $(473.4) million, or $(3.29) per diluted common share, which compares to a GAAP net income of $3.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted common share, for the fiscal first quarter 2017.

Ciena's adjusted (non-GAAP) net income for the fiscal first quarter 2018 was $21.9 million, or $0.15 per diluted common share, which compares to an adjusted (non-GAAP) net income of $24.6 million, or $0.17 per diluted common share, for the fiscal first quarter 2017.

“We demonstrated a strong start toward achieving our long-term financial goals with our fiscal first quarter results, including year-over-year top-line growth, continued cash generation and a strengthening balance sheet,” said Gary B. Smith, president and CEO, Ciena. “We also are confident in our ability to continue driving market share gains across key geographies and customer segments by intersecting the industry’s demand drivers with leading innovation.”

Some highlights:

Revenue by geography:
North America   62.4%
EMEA                15.1%
CALA                  5.4%
APAC                 17.1%


  • U.S. customers contributed 59.3% of total revenue
  • Two customers each accounted for greater than 10% of revenue and in aggregate represented 25% of total revenue
  • Cash and investments totaled $986.8 million
  • Total number of employees: 5,712

Oclaro samples 1310nm DFB-MZ PICs for 100G/400G PAM4

Oclaro announced sampling 1310nm photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that integrate a DFB laser with a Mach Zehnder modulator for intra-data center applications using CWDM wavelengths. 

The 1310nm DFB-MZ PIC, which leverages Oclaro's expertise in 1310 DFB lasers and its Indium-Phosphide high-bandwidth modulator technology, is aimed at shorter-reach applications such as higher-speed connectivity across data center campuses.

"The need for ever-increasing capacity within the data center is making it critical to develop higher-speed and more integrated component technology," said Beck Mason, President of Oclaro's Integrated Photonic Business. "Oclaro has a long history of delivering proven direct detect and coherent technology and we are pleased to be the first supplier to now offer a 1310nm DFB-MZ PIC capable of supporting the demanding 100 Gbps per wavelength PAM4 applications."

T-Mobile U.S. joins Green Power Partnership

T-Mobile has joined the Green Power Partnership – a collective of companies leading the way in renewable energy.

"Moving to renewable energy is the right thing to do, and it’s smart business. We’ll continue to be a brand that makes our customers proud,” said John Legere, president and CEO at T-Mobile. “Meanwhile, AT&T just scored a C– and Verizon flat-out FLUNKED OUT according to Green America’s clean energy scorecard. C’mon Backward Blue and Reluctant Red – there’s still time to take my #CleanUpWireless challenge and change this industry for good.”

Earlier this year, T-Mobile launched #CleanUpWireless to challenge AT&T and Verizon to clean up their act and join the Un-carrier in committing to 100 percent clean energy.

Eutelsat seeks new opportunities - part 2

In the first half of this article, we looked at the recent financial performance of Eutelsat, the Paris-based satellite operator known for its pioneering video distribution services and global reach. Currently, the Eutelsat fleet of satellites is carrying 6,810 TV channels, of which 1,275 channels are HD – a penetration rate of only 19%, which seems low in this era when 4K television screens are now widely available in many markets at declining prices.

As the video market continues to shift toward over-the-top services, and as fibre reaches many of the locations which were previously the exclusive domain of satellites, Eutelsat will seek new opportunities, such as in-flight mobile connectivity -- its only segment that is currently growing. Eutelsat also has interesting ventures underway in Africa, and recently in the "Belt and Road" countries in partnership with China Unicom.



Upcoming satellite launches

Unlike some of its industry rivals that have drawn up plans for dozens, hundreds or even thousands of new satellites in the coming decade, Eutelsat seems to be taking a conservative CAPEX approach with regards to the orders book. While current shareholders may appreciate keeping a healthy dividend, the space business is inherently a costly one. Eventually, satellites get old and must be replaced. Newer technology means that the current assets in orbit can depreciate quite quickly.

As in the case of current satellites not optimized for 100% HD or even 4K video. There will also be the need to defend against the ultra-aggressive business plans of SpaceX and others, who could conceivably push an established company such as Eutelsat into irrelevancy quite quickly. Here is a list of upcoming Eutelsat satellite launches:




A Vision for Africa

In September 2016, Eutelsat suffered a major setback in its vision to deliver broadband connectivity to Africa in partnership with Facebook when SpaceX experienced a launch pad anomaly during a pre-launch test at Cape Canaveral, Florida, leading to the explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket and the destruction of its payload, Eutelsat's AMOS-6 satellite.

AMOS-6 was a Ka-band geostationary satellite configured with high gain spot beams for covering large parts of West, EAast and Southern Africa. The satellite was designed for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer equipment.
The partnership with Facebook was announced in October 2015 with a mission to reach large parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Eutelsat’s upcoming African Broadband Satellite looks to be a replacement for this lost bird. The new satellite t has ordered from Thales Alenia Space for possible launch in 2019. The all-electric satellite will be the first to use Thales Alenia Space's new Spacebus Neo platform. And it will offer 75 Gbps of capacity across a network of 65 spotbeams, which together provide quasi-complete coverage of Sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite will address direct-to-user consumer and enterprise broadband services using dishes from approximately 75 cm.  Villages could use the satellite connectivity for Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile phone backhauling.  No word on whether Facebook will play a role in the renewed project.

There are two other past regional expansions for Eutelsat that should be noted. In October 2017, Eutelsat acquired Noorsat, one of the leading satellite service providers in the Middle East, from Bahrain’s Orbit Holding Group. In 2013, Eutelsat acquired Satélites Mexicanos, for $831 million in cash plus assumption of $311 million in Satmex debt. Satmex operates three satellites that cover 90% of the population of the Americas.

Finally, Eutelsat and China Unicom signed a memorandum of understanding to address satellite communications market in the framework of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. The agreement builds on in-flight connectivity deal formed between Eutelsat and UnicomAirNet (UAN), which was recently formed by China Unicom's broadband network unit and Hangmei, a Chinese Wi-Fi service and content provider for railways and buses, to provide IFC services to Chinese commercial airlines.

The Belt and Road Initiative is the development strategy proposed by the Chinese government that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries. The idea is to build a 21st century Silk Road linking more than 68 countries, equivalent to 65% of the world's population and 40% of the global GDP as of 2017. The Belt and Road Initiative has the support of President Xi and the highest levels of his administration, leading some analysts to call it the largest organised development in history.

China's leading IT players, including China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile, are being encouraged to pursue an overseas expansion strategy. As such, Eutelsat makes an interesting partner for China Unicom in that it already has the satellite coverage, and the local TV broadcast partners), in the regions that China Unicom wishes to expand. Likewise, if Eutelsat is looking for a partner with the financial resources, scale, and ambition to cover Asia, the Middle East and Africa, China Unicom presents many possibilities. Global politics, of course, would play a role, with government contracts and national security interests as top concerns if this partnership were to deepen.




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