"Optical Technologies for the Future Data Center and Metro Networks"

Martin Zirngibl, Program Leader Network Enabling Components and Technology, Bell Labs

November 17th (Tuesday), 2:00pm
Engineering Science Building (ESB), Room 2001

photo of Martin Zirngibl
The physical layer interconnection inside and between data centers will become an increasingly important fraction of the overall network cost, power consumption and footprint because analog optical transponder hardware does not follow Moore’s law. We will discuss how to fundamentally scale optical interface speeds to 400G/1T/1.6T to keep up with the ever increasing packet processor capacity. A key technology will be coherent which has already disrupted long-haul WDM transmission. Its excellent reach and transmission properties make it also very suitable for Metro distances (10-100km). But for shorter reaches (0-10km), single-mode and multi-mode direct detection will not be displaced. We will explore the trade-offs between the different transmission technologies and speculate which technology will win for the different applications.

Key to any competitive transmission technology is to have the right optical/electronic integration. Recent advances in silicon photonics, SiGeBiCMOS and 14 nm FD-SOI could be potential game changers and fundamentally alter the supply chain for transponders by allowing an CMOS- like separation of design and manufacturing.

We will also examine whether there are opportunities for a true optical layer enabled by optical cross-connects or optical add-drop devices in the data center internetworking. Analog networking technologies have been touted to be the next big thing a long time, but so far have failed to create a true impact; therefore there are reasons to be skeptical. Nevertheless, the fundamental scalability of an optical cross connect will, at some point, offer an irresistible value proposition once fibers carry Tb/s of capacity inside the data center.

About Martin Zirngibl:

Managing a 110 member organization of researchers and developers in France, Ireland and US. Hardware development for Photonic Integrated Circuits, 100GbE, NexGen wireless E-band systems and fiber-to-the-home Energy efficiency data centers, advanced cooling and green technologies.

Hosted by: Professor Clint Schow