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OIF launches 56G projects for highly integrated optical modules

17 May 2012
The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has started three new projects to define electrical interfaces for the next generation of compact 100G and 400G optical modules. The projects were proposed at the OIF's second quarter meeting that took place last month in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
As with all projects within the OIF, members define the initial proposal within the working groups and then drive the technology to a level that can be implemented by vendors, usually in the form of an implementation agreement.
"These projects address different elements of the important electrical interface beyond 100G transmissions, where speed and power will become an increasingly difficult issue," said Dave Stauffer of IBM Corp. and chair of the OIF's Physical and Link Layer Working Group. "Based on our Common Electrical Interface (CEI) work, the industry has turned to the OIF to drive the next phase in electrical interfaces which will include data rates up to 56Gbps."
The CEI-56G-Very Short Reach project will look at single-lane electrical I/O data rates beyond 28Gbps, which will be needed for future chip-to-module applications, including single-lane interfaces for 40Gbps modules and 8-10 lane interfaces for 400Gbps modules.  The aim of the project is to determine the optimum modulation format based on measurements, verification and CMOS switch ASIC I/O capability.
The other projects target interfaces between and within optical components, a levels of integration not addressed by previous projects – and a sign that photonic integration is becoming increasingly essential in the development of high-speed optical components.
The Ultra Short Reach Electrical Interface defines a link of less than 10 mm between an ASIC and an optical engine (an integrated transmitter/receiver often providing multiple channels) at data rates up to and including 56Gpbs. This will enable the industry to develop multi chip modules (MCMs) and advanced packaging schemes that are optimized for minimum power consumption.
The final project, titled Close Proximity Electrical Interface, defines a link with a reach of less than 50mm from the chip to a discrete optical engine at data rates up to and including 56Gbps. This will facilitate an efficient board mounted OE at low power, says the OIF.
By Pauline Rigby