Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Celestial AI raises $175M series-C for its Photonic Fabric

Celestial AI, a start-up developing an optical interconnect for disaggregated, exascale compute and memory clusters, raised $175 million in its Series C funding.

Celestial AI is working on Optical Compute Interconnect (OCI) to enable disaggregation of scalable data center memory and accelerated computing. The company says its Photonic Fabric is unconstrained by package beachfront limitations and can deliver data to any location on the compute die, directly to the point of consumption. It promises greater scalability and more than 10X lower latency and power consumption compared with any optical interconnect alternative, such as Co-Packaged Optics (CPO).

The latest funding round wass led by Thomas Tull’s U.S. Innovative Technology Fund (USIT). In addition to USIT, the round included participation from new and existing investors including AMD Ventures, Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), Temasek, Temasek’s wholly owned subsidiary Xora Innovation, IAG Capital Partners, Samsung Catalyst, Smart Global Holdings (SGH), Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Engine Ventures, M-Ventures and Tyche Partners.

“This highly oversubscribed financing round is another testament to Celestial AI’s position to disrupt the market, and reflects the magnitude of business opportunity before us,” said Dave Lazovsky, Celestial AI founder and CEO. “Today’s advanced AI models require exponentially more I/O bandwidth and memory capacity but are currently constrained by low bandwidth and high latency. Our Photonic Fabric™ technology is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for Accelerated Computing optical interconnectivity, driven by unparalleled performance and efficiency.”

Marvell launches 1.6T optical DSP, 3D SiPho Engine

At #OFC24, Marvell outlined its broad-ranging strategy to optimize optical technology to meet the rising performance and power requirements of AI and cloud data centers.

Products and use cases being unveiled at OFC include:

  • Nova 2: The industry's first 1.6T optical DSP featuring 200G per lane electrical and optical I/O, Marvell Nova 2 will enable module integrators to produce industry-standard optical transceivers delivering the bandwidth density required by switches, AI accelerators and other devices. 200 Gbps per lane I/O is a defining feature of next-generation data center architectures.

Nova 2 is sampling to customers now. Nova, a 1.6T optical DSP featuring 100G per lane electrical I/O and 200G per lane optical interfaces, is now generally available.

  • Marvell 3D Silicon Photonics Engine: The Marvell 3D SiPho Engine combines hundreds of components needed for optical communications into a single device. Featuring 200G I/O, 3D SiPho Engine delivers 2x the bandwidth, 2x the input/output (I/O) bandwidth density, and 30% lower power per bit versus comparable devices with 100 Gbps electrical and optical interfaces1. Potential applications include modules for AI clusters.

  • Spica Gen2-T: A new category of optical DSPs, Spica Gen2-T is designed for transmit retimed optical (TRO) modules, an emerging class of modules for AI and cloud use cases. Transmit-only DSPs enable TROs to reduce power consumption by more than 40% compared to conventional transceivers2. Spica Gen2-T is the fourth 800 Gbps optical DSP from Marvell and part of its effort to optimize optical DSPs, along with other cloud and AI silicon, for specific use cases and applications.

  • COLORZ 800: First Demo of Probabilistic Constellation Shaping at 800 Gbps and Industry Momentum. Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS) effectively doubles the reach of coherent DSP modules employed for long-distance communications. Marvell will showcase COLORZ 800 modules linked to a Teralynx 10 switch running in PCS mode capable of providing full capacity for up to 1000 km.

Marvell COLORZ 800 technology will also be on display in booths from Arista Networks (#4901) and the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) multi-vendor interoperability demonstration (#1323).

  • O-band Optics: Xi Wang, Ph.D., vice president of marketing for Optical Connectivity at Marvell, examines the growing use cases for coherent DSPs leveraging the O-band optics in data centers. At higher bandwidths, O-band optics can potentially cover greater lengths than PAM4 DSPs while consuming less power than today's coherent DSPs. The Market Watch panel takes place on Tuesday, March 26 at 12:30-2:00 p.m. in Theater 1.

  • Juniper Networks, Coherent Corp., and Marvell Collaborate on ZR/ZR+ Transport Solution: The three companies will demonstrate a combined solution featuring Marvell Orion, the industry's first 800 Gbps coherent DSP for long-distance data center interconnects and telecommunications networks, Coherent's module technology and Juniper's routing platform.

  • Customer Momentum for Orion with InnoLight and HGGenuine: Module manufacturing leaders will highlight new 800G ZR/ZR+ modules powered by Orion for data center interconnects, IP over DWDM, and other use cases.

"Over the last two decades, optical data rates have increased 1000x while energy per bit has declined 100x3, and in the process transformed data infrastructure and enabled the rise of services like streaming media, cloud computing, smartphones and AI," said Dr. Radha Nagarajan, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Optical Platforms at Marvell and the 2024 recipient of the David Richardson Medal for significant contributions to optical engineering. "The industry is now entering a new chapter and Marvell is looking forward to collaborating with its partners in extending the horizons of this far-reaching technology."


Lumentum launches 200G per Lane InP Components, 800ZR+

 Here are highlights of Lumentum's demonstrations at #OFC24:

  • 200G per Lane InP Components: Lumentum extends its indium phosphide (InP) transceiver component leadership with its new 200G Lens Integrated Photodiode (LIPD) that supports operation up to 200 Gbps per lane, enabling next-generation 800G and 1.6T optical transceivers for large-scale AI and ML applications. Featuring high responsivity and bandwidth, the 200G LIPD is designed for seamless integration with flip-chip bonding techniques and is now available for sampling. The 200G LIPD complements Lumentum’s high-volume, production ready 200G externally modulated lasers (EMLs), giving optical transceiver manufacturers best-in-class transmit and receive components for their next-generation 800G and 1.6T solutions.
  • Ultra-High Power 400 mW 1310 nm DFB Laser: Marking a milestone in semiconductor laser technology, Lumentum introduces an ultra-high output power 1310 nm DFB laser capable of delivering 400 mW of optical power at 50°C. This beta release is designed for co-packaged optics and silicon photonic 800G and 1.6T transceiver applications, offering a solution to reduce the required number of lasers, boosting power efficiency and reliability in large scale AI and ML infrastructure. Lumentum will demonstrate its ultra-high power 1310 nm DFB laser at its booth.
  • Data Center Connectivity Demo including Linear Receiver AOC: Lumentum will demonstrate data center connectivity scenarios with a 51T switch, a server with a 4x100G NIC, and several of its Cloud Light™ 800G optical modules operating in a loopback configuration. The performance of a linear receive-only AOC connecting an 800G switch port and the server NIC will be shown in the demonstration.
  • 400G QSFP112 DR1.2: Lumentum will also demonstrate its Cloud Light 400G QSFP112 DR1.2 module, which features a 4x100G electrical interface and produces two wavelengths (1290 nm and 1310 nm), each operating at 200G.
  • 400/800ZR+ Modules: Lumentum will demonstrate its 800ZR+ OSFP module operating at 118 GBaud 16 QAM. Designed to be used in direct router interface applications, performance will be demonstrated over a more than 400 km amplified optical link, highlighting the suitability for extended DCI and metro applications. In addition, a high power 400ZR+ QSFP-DD will be operated over the same link, showing the high performance possible in current long-haul networks using pluggable modules.
  • OIF 400ZR/800ZR Interoperability and CMIS: At OIF's booth #1323, Lumentum highlighted the interoperability of its 800ZR and 400ZR transceivers with QSFP-DD and OSFP equipped switches and routers for IP over DWDM, supporting up to 800 Gbps and complying with OIF standards. Additionally, demonstrations of Lumentum's OpenZR+ and 400ZR QSFP-DD transceivers will emphasize the benefits of the CMIS standard for efficient module management and interoperability, enabling precise control over status, optical channels, and power across various applications.
  • D22 Series Pump Module: This state-of-the-art, dual-chip 980 nm pump laser module offers individual control over each emitter. It integrates Lumentum’s highly reliable and efficient 980 nm diode lasers into a compact, hermetically sealed design, delivering exceptional optical power density. The D22 series provides a noise-free, narrowband spectrum and maintains peak performance across various temperatures and current levels. It is ideally suited for applications demanding superior spectrum control and high-power output, offering up to 2x1100 mW.
  • 49M Series Multimode Pump Module: Available with 4 or 6 emitters at 980 nm, the 49M series delivers powerful output of 40 W or 60 W while maintaining a compact footprint. Its innovative design simplifies thermal management, supporting both air- and water-cooling systems. This versatility makes the 49M Series perfect for a range of applications, including vacuum, space, and terrestrial EDFA pumping.
  • Tunable SFP28 ER Module: Designed for industrial temperatures, this high-performance optical transceiver supports 25 Gbps DWDM links over distances up to 40 km. It offers a compelling upgrade for cable MSOs facing increasing bandwidth demands driven by DOCSIS 4.0 and FTTH deployments. Additionally, it enhances 5G transport network connectivity, leveraging existing C-band fiber infrastructure. Lumentum demonstrated the capabilities of this new Tunable SFP28 ER module at its booth.

"We are excited to share with the industry our latest innovations, including our highly differentiated and broad portfolio of photonics products and technology that enable cloud operators and cloud infrastructure providers to further scale AI data centers,” stated Lumentum President and CEO Alan Lowe. "Our showcase at OFC 2024 highlights Lumentum's commitment to meeting the ever-increasing demands of AI, machine learning (ML), and next-generation communications networks.”


Semtech demos Linear Pluggable Optics

At #OFC24, Semtech hosted the following live demonstrations:

  • 400Gbps SR4 LPO modules and 800G SR8 LPO modules, featuring Semtech’s DirectEdge GN1858 quad VCSEL driver and GN1856 quad TIA, interoperating in isolation with latest switch ASIC technology as well as with the latest Network Interface Card (NIC) technology, emulating a Top of Rack to NIC arrangement
  • 400Gbps DR4 LPO module featuring Semtech’s FiberEdge MZM driver and GN1814 quad TIA, interoperating with latest switch ASIC technology
  • 400Gbps FR4 LPO module featuring Semtech’s FiberEdge EML driver and GN1817 quad TIA, interoperating with latest switch ASIC technology
  • 800Gbps DR8 LPO module featuring Semtech’s FiberEdge EML driver, GN1825 octal TIA and GN8089 Semtech’s own PIC (Photonic Integrated Circuit), interoperating with latest switch ASIC technology

In addition, 400Gbps SR4 and DR4 LPO modules with Semtech’s PMDs will be interoperating with latest switch ASIC technology and other LPO modules from multi-vendor ecosystem in OIF’s booth #1323.

“The demonstration of a vast number of ready-to-adopt multi-mode and single-mode LPO modules in Semtech’s booth at OFC this year to the extensive PMDs already present in the FiberEdge product line, reflects Semtech’s commitment to support LPO and take it to the next adoption level,” said Nicola Bramante, senior product line manager for Semtech’s Signal Integrity Products Group. “Reliable signal integrity, equalization and flexibility are key to make LPO successful, and Semtech’s DirectEdge and FiberEdge PMDs are the perfect candidates for this to match the needs of AI and ML high speed interconnects while reducing optical module power consumption by up to 50% versus DSP based solutions. Data centers are expected to utilize this power savings to deploy increased compute capability. LPO solutions also offer reduced latency and lower costs than DSP based solutions delivering additional value propositions for data centers.”


BT tests Adtran's 100ZR pluggable

 BT Group has conducted a field trial of Adtran’s Coherent 100ZR pluggable transceiver. The trial with BT Group was conducted across a complex network infrastructure, spanning 90km over a third-party optical line system, incorporating four ROADM nodes and six amplifiers. Utilizing a tight 50GHz ROADM channel, the trial achieved enhanced spectral efficiency. Operating at less than 5 watts, the trial also set new benchmarks for energy efficiency.

The Adtran Coherent 100ZR transceiver can be plugged directly into an operator‘s transmission unit. Featuring a purpose-built digital signal processor (DSP) co-developed with Coherent Corp that is optimized for data rates of 100Gbit/s and designed for easy integration with deployed infrastructure, the QSFP28-compatible transceiver facilitates the adoption of 100ZR coherent technology at the network edge.

“Adtran’s plug-and-play solution has enabled us to demonstrate the feasibility of boosting capabilities within existing networks and doing so in a cost-effective and scalable manner,” said Andrew Lord, senior manager of optics research at BT. “As we continue to innovate and push boundaries, technologies like this will be instrumental in achieving our goals for a greener, more efficient telecommunications landscape.”

“Together with BT Group, we’ve showcased a method for transforming network infrastructure with highly efficient, low-power solutions. It’s a strategy that requires significantly less equipment and fewer sites. The demo also proves the advantages of deploying one amplifier in the optical line system rather than multiple amplifiers within each transceiver module. This streamlined approach helps boost network performance, reduces operational spending and shrinks carbon footprint. As well as big potential savings – as much as 50% in some cases – this strategy offers a clear path to more sustainable network development,” commented Ryan Schmidt, GM of optical transport at Adtran. 


AST Mobile Tapes Out Space-to-Cellular ASIC

AST SpaceMobile, which is building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by everyday smartphones, has begun the tape-out phase for its Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), in collaboration with TSMC.

AST SpaceMobile's BlueBird Block 2 program, the AST5000 ASIC is a novel, custom and low-power architecture developed to enable up to a tenfold improvement in processing bandwidth on each satellite, unlocking opportunities for seamless space-based cellular broadband services worldwide. 

The company says this  significant milestone marks the culmination of over four years of dedicated research, development, and engineering expertise, equivalent to an estimated 150 man-years of intensive work, as well as approximately $45 million of development.

"The commencement of the tape-out process for our ASIC, in collaboration with TSMC and other leaders in the semiconductor industry, is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our talented team," said Abel Avellan, Chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile. “As we advance towards the orbital launch of our Block 1 BlueBird satellites in the upcoming months, we are simultaneously making steady progress on the technology underlying our Block 2 satellites. This achievement underscores our relentless pursuit of innovation to address the growing demand for global connectivity, With the ASIC at the heart of our Block 2 program, we are a big step closer to ushering in a new era of satellite communications, helping to empower people with reliable connectivity, regardless of their location.”

AST SpaceMobile has achieved 3 Bits/Hertz using BlueWalker 3 and has planned capacity of up to 40 MHz per beam on its commercial satellites, which is planned to support 120 Mbps peak data rates. With our planned ASICs and 2,400 sq ft BlueBird satellite size, we expect to support up to 10,000 MHz of processing bandwidth per satellite in the future to enable the first and only space-based cellular broadband network.

AST SpaceMobile has more than 3,100 patent and patent-pending claims for its technology and operates state-of-the-art, vertically integrated manufacturing and testing facilities in Midland, Texas, which collectively span 185,000 square feet. The company recently secured strategic investment from AT&T, Google and Vodafone, as well as a new contract award with the United States Government through a prime contractor. The company has agreements and understandings with more than 40 mobile network operators globally, which have over two billion existing subscribers total, including Vodafone Group, Rakuten Mobile, AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Telefonica, TIM, Saudi Telecom Company, MTN, Zain KSA, Etisalat, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison, Telkomsel, Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, Millicom, Smartfren, Telecom Argentina, Telstra, Africell, Liberty Latin America and others. Rakuten, American Tower and Bell Canada are also existing investors in AST SpaceMobile.


MaxLinear, Jabil, Intel collaborate on 800G silicon photonics

MaxLinear and Jabil announced the production availability of a family of 800G silicon photonics-based optical transceiver modules.

The new modules leverage Jabil’s recently-announced collaboration with Intel and their silicon photonics platform, renowned for its manufacturing efficiency and high reliability. Based on the high-volume, high-reliability platform from Intel and MaxLinear, Jabil will supply 800G-DR8, 2x400G-FR4 and 2x400G-LR4 optical modules to the market.

At the core of the new 800G module lies MaxLinear's 5nm 800G PAM4 DSP.

Intel’s volume-proven silicon photonics platform leverages Intel’s high-volume silicon manufacturing technologies, and includes on-chip laser sources fabricated, tested, and burned-in at wafer-scale to provide unsurpassed reliability at component level, as well as simplicity and efficiency in module integration.

“Our collaboration with Jabil brings a completely unique supply chain to the exploding AI/ML ecosystem,” said Drew Guckenberger, VP of High Speed Interconnect at MaxLinear. “The unique supply chains and geodiversity that Jabil and Intel bring are incredibly important for successfully scaling up networks in an accelerating demand environment like we are currently in.”

 “Jabil is excited to enter the optical module space as a direct supplier to many of our existing customers,” said Matt Crowley, SVP of Cloud and Enterprise Infrastructure at Jabil. “We are committed to this space long-term and to providing our customers with a unique value proposition they just cannot get anywhere else."


Dell'Oro: Campus switch backlog normalizes

In 4Q 2023 worldwide Campus Switch sales declined by 4 percent year-over-year (Y/Y), marking the first quarter of decline since 4Q 2020 and signaling the onset of a multi-quarter digestion cycle in the market, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.

Vendor performance was uneven during the quarter. Among the top five vendors, Cisco declined the most and was responsible for the bulk of the market decline. Huawei and Juniper declined modestly, while HPE and H3C grew by double digits.

“The revenue decline is mostly reflective of a digestion cycle that seems to be affecting vendors, products, and speeds to varying degrees and on different timelines,” said Sameh Boujelbene, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “Put simply, customers that received their orders early and vendors that were faster in fulfilling their backlogs will be the first to enter the digestion cycle. For that reason, vendor performance, regional performance, and even port speed performance was uneven during the quarter,” added Boujelbene.

Additional highlights from the 4Q 2023 Ethernet Switch – Campus Report:

  • Regionally, we observed a reversal of the trend seen over the last year. Regions such as North America (NA), Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific (APAC) Excluding China, grew robustly in the prior quarters but saw a significant deceleration and, in some cases, a decline, in 4Q 2023. Meanwhile, China, which experienced sluggish sales in the past few quarters, showed some signs of recovery in the quarter.
  • 5/5.0 Gbps ports were up more than 60 percent, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of strong double-digit growth. This ongoing growth underscores significant improvements in supply, coupled with rising demand stimulated by the increasing adoption of Wi-Fi 6E Access Points (APs).