Research Note

October 2022 Lots of steady progress and a few surprises at ECOC-2022

October 2022


The ECOC-2022 tradeshow was a lively event. Some Chinese companies were missing, but the rest of the industry was in full attendance. Many of the presentations were standing room only, reflecting healthy interest to new technologies and market trends. This report offers a brief review of live demos and new product announcements at the show, and our reaction to some of them. [This note is not intended to be a complete review of all the numerous announcements made at ECOC 2022. We selected a few examples to illustrate the industry trends and some of the key discussion topics. If you feel that we missed an important new product or publication, please let us know.] A majority of the highlights reflect continuing progress along the mainstream directions for the industry, including: • The first live demonstration of 224G electrical signaling and more demos of 112G signaling at OIF • More demos of 200G per lane optics and 2x400G (8x100G) transceivers, including 2x400G LR4 modules • A lot of 400ZR demos and new 400ZR+ announcements • New high speed optics: up to 260 Gbaud • More discussions about 800G ZR and LR (10km reach coherent) • Progress in access optics: 100G PON components, XR optics and 50G wireless fronthaul transceivers A few surprises at the show included: • A lot more demos and reports based on Thin Film Lithium Niobate (TFLN) technology • A potential alternative to CPO, discussed below. A radical new approach to Ethernet switch design was presented by Chris Cole, developed together with Yamaichi Electronics. It is literally orthogonal to the industry mainstream, as it flips the switching ASIC by 90 degrees onto its side. As illustrated in the diagrams below, the two ASICs are positioned vertically in the middle of a 4RU box, while keeping all the optics (64 OSFPs) on the front panel. The main advantage of this approach is much shorter connections between the optics and switching ASICs, as shown below. Signal integrity is further improved by a new compact vertical connector, designed by Yamaichi Electronics, for use with standard optics. Chris Cole detailed how air flowing through the vertical configuration maximizes the efficiency of the heat sinks, so that cooling of the ASICs and optics is optimized. Is this a distraction for the industry gearing up for CPO? Possibly. But all approaches for reducing power consumption on next generation switches deserve to be tested now. Adoption of CPO in Ethernet switches will take the rest of this decade. There is still time to look at the problem from all angles, literally. The full text of the research note is available to LightCounting subscribers by logging into their accounts.

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