LightTrends Newsletter

It was not all about 5G at Mobile World Congress Shanghai

March 2021

LightCounting reports on new optical transport products announced at MWCS 2021

MWC was held in Shanghai February 23-25 in hybrid in-person/online format. While many vendors have not participated in the on-site exhibit, those who did find it very productive and found that majority of the visitors were real customers this year. Huawei and ZTE attended the event and disclosed new additions to their optical product portfolios.

ZTE announced availability of 400G pluggable CFP2-DCO modules, which can support 200G as well. The company also disclosed field trials of 800G DWDM transport solutions and added 1.2 Tbps to the roadmap, as shown in the figure below.

Extending the performance of DWDM transport solutions beyond 400G is very challenging, while gains in spectral efficiency are diminishing, but it remains a matter of prestige for the equipment suppliers. With the announcement of its first trials of 800G DWDM transport, ZTE entered an exclusive club of suppliers capable of delivering such high speed solutions. ZTE also disclosed its first lab test of 1.2T DWDM optics, using optical components operating at 128 GBaud.

With all these challenges in mind, will investments in 800G and beyond pay off? Probably not in the next year or two, but it will in 3 to 5 years from now. Google is starting to deploy 800G connections inside their datacenters (DCs) now and other Cloud companies will follow. The data rate of DCI connections tend to follow the speed of optics deployed inside the DCs.

From this perspective, 1.2T may not be a good data rate for DCI products. LightCounting expects that 1.6T will be the next step beyond 800G in datacenters. However, 1.2T may still be useful in other applications. Not to mention that all possibilities are open for solutions looking beyond 5 years from now. Virtually anything can happen.

Huawei launched Optix Supersite, which combines PON OLTs with OTN transport in a single chassis and single network control software, enabling one system to serve both home broadband (HBB) and small enterprise customers.

OptiX SuperSite is designed for service providers to grow revenues from the lucrative OTN private line market by expanding it from large companies to small and medium enterprises (SME). This market have become a new engine of revenue growth for service providers, as more companies rely on Cloud applications.

By integrating OTN transport into PON OLTs, OptiX SuperSite improves quality of service by eliminating packet loss in OLT uplinks. Huawei estimates that 30% of service outages are linked to the OLT uplinks, even with AI analysis employed to improve performance. OTN technology, widely deployed in private line access, will put an end to packet loss in PON networks as well.

Apart from the improved reliability, OptiX SuperSite is designed to reduce latency via the use of a new board-level optical cross-connect (OXC), which allows an all-optical path from the OptiX SuperSite to the Cloud.

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