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OneChip Photonics targets the data centre

31 May 2012
 
Until now OneChip has focused on bringing its photonic integrated circuit (PIC) based passive optical network (PON) transceivers to market. But now the start-up is expanding its product range with components that could slash the cost of interfaces for 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet.
 
OneChip Photonics is developing integrated optical components to address the IEEE 40GBASE-LR4 and 100GBASE-LR4 standards for transmission over 10km of singlemode fibre. The devices comprise four 25Gbps wavelengths operating around 1,300nm. 
 
The startup is developing separate LR4 transmitter and receiver PICs. The first products will be 40 and 100GBASE-LR4 receivers, to appear in the third quarter of 2012, followed by the LR4 transmitter PICs by the year end. 
 
OneChip says its PICs are tiny, less than 3mm in length. “We think the PICs will enable the packaging of LR4 in a QSFP,” said Andy Weirich, OneChip Photonics' vice president of product line management. 40GBASE-LR4 products are already available in the QSFP form factor, but the 100GBASE-LR4 uses a CFP module.
 
The startup expects module makers to use its receiver chips once they become available rather than wait for the receiver-transmitter PIC pair. "Reducing the size of one half the solution is possibly good enough to fit the whole hybrid design – the PIC for the receiver and discretes for the transmitter – into a QSFP,” said Weirich.  
 
The PICs are expected to reduce the cost of LR4 modules significantly. "I think we can cut the price by half or better,” said Weirich. “Right now the LR4 is far too expensive to be used for data centre interconnects.”  
 
OneChip believes the PIC-based LR4 modules will be cost-competitive enough to address shorter-reach data centre requirements ranging from 200m to 2km. This is currently an underserved market, it says.
 
By Roy Rubenstein