Collaboration to enable flexible rate optical transmission

28th January 2019
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Collaboration to enable flexible rate optical transmission

As optical networks are transitioning from 100G to flexible transmission rates that scale up to 600G to support hyper-connected architectures, new flexible multi-rate optical transmission devices and software are needed. Microchip Technology, through its subsidiary, Microsemi, and Acacia Communications, are supporting this critical transition.

The collaboration is doing this with the demonstrated interoperability between Microchip’s DIGI-G5 Optical Transport Network (OTN) processor and Acacia’s AC1200 Coherent Module. The objective of the companies’ collaboration is to enable the industry’s first flexible rate system architectures with an established ecosystem to support the market’s transition to 200, 400, and 600G and flexible rate OTN networks built with new Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) and OTUCn protocols.

By helping enable the market’s transition from 100G to flexible transmission system architectures, service providers could deploy higher bandwidth Ethernet connectivity at a faster rate and at a lower cost with Optical Internetworking Forum’s (OIF) FlexE protocol. FlexE was designed to provide up to 30% greater bandwidth efficiency compared to traditional Ethernet link aggregation (LAG) with fewer limitations. Combining it with OTUCn and tunable fractional dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) transmission brings service providers the potential to improve their OTN network capacity by up to 70%.

As the first OTN processor to support FlexE and OTUCn protocols, Microchip’s DIGI-G5 delivers the silicon and software required to launch new terabit scale line cards with flexible rate optical interfaces for packet optical transport platforms. By combining the DIGI-G5 and AC1200, next generation architectures will help to support the market’s growing demand for metro and data centre interconnect networks requiring 100G+ connectivity that can be rate adjusted to maximise bandwidth.

Babak Samimi, Vice President For Microchip’s Communications Business Unit, stated: “DIGI-G5 allows our optical transport system partners to deliver terabit-class OTN switching line cards at 50% less power per port while enabling flexible rate ports and protocols up to 600G. Demonstrating interworking of the DIGI-G5 with Acacia’s AC1200 coherent module highlights that the ecosystem is ready to support the market transition to these new protocols, rates and multi-terabit architectures.”

While the DIGI-G5 processes client traffic into OTN, the 1.2T AC1200, powered by Acacia’s Pico digital signal processor (DSP) ASIC, on the line card will enable the OTN connections over two 600G tunable DWDM wavelengths with flexible transmission three-dimensional (3D) shaping features. 

These features, which include fractional quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) and adaptive baud rate optimise transmission reach and capacity, approaching theoretical limits on a wide range of network configurations, in a power efficient manner.

Benny Mikkelsen, Chief Technology Officer of Acacia Communications, added: “In addition to high capacity and density, our AC1200 module introduces several key features designed to enable network operators to optimise capacity, reach and spectral efficiency —making flexible transmission solutions up to 600G a reality. With Microchip’s DIGI-G5 scaling up capacity and reducing power at the same time, and the optical performance provided by our AC1200, we believe that Acacia and Microchip are helping to enable the market to scale network capacity with improved efficiency.”


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