A new 800G MSA for datacenter connectivity, and multi-wavelength solutions for wireless fronthaul dominated discussions at CIOE 2019



LightCounting comments on product demonstrations and announcements made at CIOE 2019, held in Shenzhen the week of 2 September


With more than 30,000 attendees, CIOE is the largest conference with its main focus on the optical communications industry. The event is moving into a larger venue in Shenzhen next year to accommodate the growing crowds. The show floor looked like a busy airport this year and long lines at security checkpoints completed the airport experience. The organizers did a good job as usual so all the “flights” were on schedule. Attending presentations remains challenging for foreigners not fluent in Chinese, in sharp contrast with OptiNet China, which offers an excellent simultaneous translation.

800G optics for datacenters


Huawei opened the event by announcing a new 800G MSA focused on datacenter connectivity. The initiative is supported by Tencent, China Mobile, H3C, Yamaichi, Luxshare, Inphi, Lumentum, Sumitomo, Accelink and Hisense. Several other companies, including Baidu, expressed interest in joining this effort soon after the announcement.

Figure 1: Scope of the 800G MSA.

Is this a false start? The timing may not be perfect, as demand for optics from the leading Cloud companies softened in 2019, but the sooner the industry starts working on developing a consensus for 800G solutions, the better. Google is the only company that currently has deployment plans extending beyond 400G. Google started deploying 2x200GbE transceivers in 2018 and plans to move to 2x400GbE as early as 2021.

The MSA plans to release specifications by the end of 2020 and have the first prototypes available in the end of 2021. It is focused on 8x100GbE and 4x200GbE solutions, not 800GbE. IEEE has not formally started work on its next generation Ethernet standard and it is not clear if this is going to be 800GbE or a higher datarate.

LightCounting Mega Datacenter Optics report suggests that Cloud companies will need 800G modules by 2023-2024 in order to keep up with bandwidth growth inside their datacenters. We also expect that 51Tbps switching ASICs will be available by that time.

A link to the full version of the research note was emailed to LightCounting subscribers. It includes sections on fronthaul optics, live demos at CIOE, industry consolidation in China, Huawei and the trade war.

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