NeoPhotonics boosts bandwidth capacity of optical fibres

2 min read

NeoPhotonics has announced that it has completed experimental verification of the transmission of 400Gbps data over data centre interconnect (DCI) ZR distances in a 75 GHz spaced Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) channel.

NeoPhotonics, a developer and manufacturer of silicon photonics and advanced hybrid photonic integrated circuit-based lasers, modules and subsystems, said that it had achieved two milestones using its interoperable pluggable 400ZR coherent modules and its specially designed athermal arrayed waveguide grating (AWG) multiplexers (MUX) and de-multiplexers (DMUX).

First, data rate per channel increases from today’s non-interoperable 100Gbps direct-detect transceivers to 400Gbps interoperable coherent 400ZR modules. Second, the current DWDM infrastructure can be increased from 32 channels of 100 GHz-spaced DWDM signals to 64 channels of 75 GHz-spaced DWDM signals. As a result, the total DCI fibre capacity can be increased from 3.2 Tb/s (100Gb/s/ch. x 40 ch.) to 25.6 Tb/s (400Gb/s/ch. x 64 ch.), which is a total capacity increase of 800 percent.

NeoPhotonics said that its technology had managed to overcome multiple challenges to transporting 400ZR signals in 75 GHz-spaced DWDM channels. The 400ZR signal use an approximately 60 Gbaud symbol rate and 16 QAM modulation, resulting in a broader transmitting signal spectrum compared to that of a standard 100 Gb/s coherent or PAM4 signals. Furthermore, it is recognised that the centre frequencies of the lasers, MUX and DMUX will all drift due to temperature changes and aging. Consequently, as the channel spacing is reduced from 100GHz to 75GHz, adjacent channel interference (ACI) becomes more critical, and can potentially degrade the optical signal-to-noise ratio of 400ZR signals.

The filters used in NeoPhotonics MUX and DMUX units are designed to limit ACI while at the same time having a stable centre frequency against extreme temperatures and aging.

The optical signal spectrum of the pluggable 400ZR transmitter is very important for two reasons. First, the spectrum should not be too wide, as that would result in “spillover energy” impacting its neighbor DWDM channels. Second, it also cannot be too narrow, as that would degrade the signal quality or even recoverability, especially after the MUX and DMUX filtering.

NeoPhotonics has demonstrated end-to-end 90km DCI links using three in-house 400ZR pluggable transceivers with their tunable laser frequencies tuned to 75GHz spaced channels, and a pair of passive 75GHz-spaced DWDM MUX and DMUX modules designed specifically for this application. The optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) penalty due to the presence of the MUX and DMUX and the worst-case frequency drifts of the lasers, as well as the MUX and DMUX filters, is less than 1dB. The worst-case component frequency drifts were applied to emulate the operating conditions for aging and extreme temperatures.

“The combination of compact 400ZR silicon photonics-based pluggable coherent transceiver modules with specially designed 75 GHz channel spaced multiplexers and de-multiplexers can greatly increase the bandwidth capacity of optical fibres in a DCI application and consequently greatly decrease the cost per bit,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics. “These 400ZR coherent techniques pack 400Gbps of data into a 75 GHz wide spectral channel, placing stringent requirements on the multiplexers and de-multiplexers. We are uniquely able to meet these requirements because we do both design and fabrication of planar lightwave circuits and we have 20 years of experience addressing the most challenging MUX/DMUX applications,” concluded Mr. Jenks.