Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) and Pluggable Summit debate

The future of data center network architecture was the key theme at last week's Co-Packaged and Pluggable Optics Industry Summit, an invite-only event presented by Optica and the Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) will host the  at the DuPont Silicon Valley Technology and Innovation Center.

Debate centered on the pros/cons of scaling today switching architecture based on pluggable optical transceivers versus future designs designs with co-packaged optics alongside the switching silicon.

Google: The pluggable design factor for hyperscale data center switches is working well and there is a roadmap to scale for several more generations, said Hong Liu, Google Fellow. Her presentation cited the potential of pluggable interfaces as high as 3.2T OSFP-XD and future 102.4T switch designs. Rather than CPO interfaces on switching silicon, future data center networks could scale using Optical Circuit Switching using MEMS mirror arrays. CPO inside pluggable optical transceiver is beneficial, such as integrating DSPs with TIAs.

Speaking on behalf of Microsoft, Moray McLauren made the case that package-level optical integration (CPO) is needed to (1) address the rising power requirements in data centers ("network power tax is increasing, reducing end user revenue power"), (2) extend radix reach (3) lower component costs (4) drive AI/ML and HPC applications

Meta's Katharine Schmidtke, Director of ASIC and Custom Silicon Sourcing, also presented the case for optical interconnects in AI/ML hardware. As compute fabrics adopt a cluster architecture, the network fabric has to scale. Compared with existing optical modules, CPO promises to significantly reduce the power demands of the new computing clusters.

Power savings in the network can be achieved in other ways, said John Shalf, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Think wide and slow! This applies to innovations in (1) in-package integration, (2) DWDM using Silicon Photonics (ring resonators) (3) new comb laser sources capable of generating 100s of frequencies

NVIDIA is moving forward with its own NVLink over optics approach to solve the scaling problem, said Craig Thomson. 

Jeff Maki, Distinguished Engineer at Juniper Networks and Board Member of COBO, presented a taxonomy of 400G and 800G interfaces. 

Arista's Andy Bechtolscheim presented the strongest case that pluggables are the best solution for Ethernet data center switching and that CPO switches fall short in time-to-market, standardization, break out connectors and a host of other issues.  Potential applications for CPO might include copackaging with DSPs inside pluggable modules at 224G and non-Ethernet uses cases such as AI chips.

Pluggable optics remains a feasible and dominant use case for the next generation of switching said Cisco's Anthony Torza.

It is all about system level power, said Infinera's Dave Welch. Through its vertical integration, Infinera already offers a 400G ZR+ pluggable module with a 1600km range. For intra data center range, innovations such as the microLED technology developed by Avicena promise very significant power improvements with integration in CMOS.

Marvell's Radha Nagarajan offered some thoughts on heterogeneous integration including improved modulation that puts us on the path to 3.2T. 

Video perspective on the Pluggables and CPO Debate

Here is an overview of the first Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) and Pluggables Summit presented by Optica and the Consortium for On-board Optics (COBO). The event was help 26-26-October-2022 at the DuPont Silicon Valley Innovation Center.

Perspectives from:

0:00 Jose Pozo, CTO, Optica

2:00 Jake Joo, Site Leader & Sr. Technology Manager, DuPont Silicon Valley Innovation Center

2:58 Tiger Ninomiya, Sr. Technologist, SENKO Advanced Components

3:46 John Wasserbauer, CEO, MicroGlass

4:50 Jimena Garcia-Romeu, CEO, Alcyon Photonics

5:18 Sanjay Gangadhara, Senior Technologist, Ansys

6:00 Patrick Heissler, Director of Business Development, SUSS Microoptics

Kyocera's on-board optics module offers 16x32Gbps

Kyocera has developed an On-Board Optics Module that achieves an overall bandwidth of 512 Gbps (16 channels of 32 Gbps/channel). 

Kyocera’s prototype module is miniaturized for installation on a printed circuit board near the processor. The company says its module achieves unprecedented improvements in signal-to-noise ratio, virtually eliminating the signal loss caused by conventional electrical conductors. 

Kyocera’s module  uses a Low-Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) mounting substrate developed by Kyocera, which offers exceptional material characteristics, such as fine wiring, low dielectric constant, multilayering, and thermal conductivity.

Kyocera develops GaN laser chip on silicon substrate

Kyocera has developed a new thin-film process technology for making  silicon (Si) substrates for gallium nitride (GaN)-based micro-light sources, including short-cavity lasers and micro-LEDs.

GaN-based light-source devices, both micro-LED and laser, have typically been fabricated on sapphire and GaN substrates. Conventional processes involve forming a thin GaN device layer for the light source directly onto the sapphire substrate by heating it to a high temperature (1,000 degrees C or more) in a controlled gas atmosphere. The device layer has to be then removed, or "peeled," from the substrate to create a GaN-based micro-light-source device. 

Kyocera plans to offer a range of platform, substrate, and process technologies to bring high-quality, low-cost micro-light sources to market in the near future.

Lumen to sell its EMEA business to Colt for $1.8B

Colt Technology Services (Colt) agreed to acquire Lumen's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business for $1.8 billion.  The deal extends Colt's network into additional countries, European cities, and data centers.

The transaction represents a multiple of ~11x for Lumen's EMEA business. Lumen will continue to serve multinational enterprise customers through a strategic partnership with Colt.

"We are continuing to execute on portfolio optimization at Lumen, creating additional value for our shareholders by monetizing non-strategic assets at accretive multiples," said Lumen President and CEO Jeff Storey. "This transaction would enhance our focus so we can invest more efficiently in our most strategic opportunities – our key Enterprise and Quantum Fiber initiatives – and partner with regional leaders like Colt in Europe and Cirion in Latin America to continue serving our multinational enterprise customers."

"This transaction would mark the next chapter in Colt's exciting story of global growth and world-class innovation," said Keri Gilder, CEO, Colt Technology Services. "We're deeply committed to building extraordinary connections for our people, customers and partners across our digital infrastructure. This acquisition would strengthen and extend these connections across existing and new geographies, helping us to accelerate growth and bring the power of the digital universe closer to our customers."

Lightpath builds high-fiber-count Miami network

Lightpath disclosed plans to build a high-fiber0count fiber network in Miami. 

Lightpath's entry into Miami will kick off with a 55-mile subterranean network of new, high-count fiber in early 2023. All together, the company is planning 135 route miles.

The Miami Central Business District (CBD) network will be customer-ready in January 2023, while two rings to the north and west of the CBD will come online in April 2023. 

During the initial rollout of the Miami network, customers will have access to area data centers at 15 NE 9th Street and 36 NE 2nd Street, with six additional area data centers coming online throughout the year. These initial data centers will also provide direct connect services to Cloud providers, connections for Lightpath long haul services, as well as connectivity options for Southern Florida cable landing stations.

Lightpath activates diverse route between Ashburn and NY Metro

Lightpath announced a new regional long-haul route cbetween the data center epicenter of Ashburn, Virginia, and the New York Metro area. This 300-mile route is geographically diverse from existing Lightpath routes between New York and Ashburn. Lightpath will offer flexible bandwidth options along the route up to 800 Gbps optical transport. In addition, customers can directly connect to major cloud providers in the Ashburn area, as well as critical...

Lightpath expands fiber footprint west of Boston

 Lightpath announced a 75-mile expansion of its all-fiber network west of its Boston metro footprint, bringing the total size of the Lightpath network in the Boston metropolitan area to more than 200 route miles.The Boston West expansion includes over 75 miles of new, high-count fiber along the I-90 corridor between Boston and Marlborough, planned in two phases. Phase 1 of the build (in yellow on map) will be completed later in 2022, while the...

Lightpath expands its fiber footprint across Boston region

Lightpath announced a 50-mile expansion of its all-fiber network in the Boston region, following the company's entrance into the market via multiple acquisitions in June. The additional 50 route miles of network brings the total route miles in the Boston metropolitan area to over 130.The network expansion is focused on the five key areas of Boston, Waltham, Bedford, Burlington, and Lowell, MA, and is designed to enable access to additional, strategic...

Infinera reports Q3 revenue of $390 million, up 9% yoy

Infinera reported Q3 GAAP revenue of $390.4 million compared to $358.0 million in the second quarter of 2022 and $355.8 million in the third quarter of 2021. GAAP gross margin for the quarter was 34.4% compared to 30.5% in the second quarter of 2022 and 33.2% in the third quarter of 2021. Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $9.9 million, or $0.05 per share, compared to net loss of $(10.1) million, or $(0.05) per share, in the second quarter of 2022, and net loss of $(3.0) million, or $(0.01) per share, in the third quarter of 2021.

Infinera CEO David Heard said, “The third quarter was a strong quarter for us. We once again exceeded consensus expectations for both revenue and non-GAAP operating margin. On a year-over-year basis, we grew product revenue by 17% and total company revenue by 9%, and more than doubled operating profit, while generating free cash flow and strengthening our balance sheet. Further, we set another record in the quarter for ICE6 revenue and achieved additional key milestones with the field performance of our new pluggable products. Our results and progress were made against the backdrop of ongoing supply chain challenges, including the impact of elevated costs on our financial results.”

“Our investment thesis is sound, and we remain focused on the things we can control to grow market share and drive results to our target business model. We look forward to closing out 2022 on a strong note and building on our momentum in 2023 as we continue to deliver on our long-term growth and profitability objectives.”

Kyndryl's revenues dip to $4.2 billion, focus is on alliances

Kyndryl reported revenues of $4.2 billion, a year-over-year decline of 9%, or growth of 1% in constant currency. Compared to prior-year pro forma revenues, revenues declined 8%, but increased 2% in constant currency. The company reported a pretax loss of $219 million and a net loss of $281 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, in the quarter, compared to a net loss of $690 million in the prior-year period. 

“Our solid execution and enhanced customer engagement drove strong revenue results in the September quarter. Excluding external factors such as currency headwinds and higher energy costs, our adjusted earnings were consistent with our June quarter earnings,” said Kyndryl Chief Financial Officer David Wyshner. “We’re confident we have the right strategy in place, and we’re on track to achieve our medium-term goals, including top-line growth in calendar 2025 and meaningful margin expansion.”

Kyndryl noted that in the first six months of fiscal 2023 itsigned contracts tied to cloud hyperscaler alliances with an aggregate value of more than $425 million, progressing toward its $1 billion hyperscaler signings target for the year. Kyndryl further increased its cloud-related capabilities, with more than 26,000 hyperscaler certifications among its employees at the end of the quarter, a 63% increase since the beginning of the calendar year.