OFC 2019: A Quick Recap

June 13, 2019

There were a lot of great discussions had and innovative technologies unveiled at the 2019 Optical Networking and Communication Conference (OFC). New product developments and common challenges in deployment were all uncovered and dissected, and it’s clear that thermoelectric cooling will be a major opportunity for lowering costs and raising performance in many of these applications. As we had expected, this was an exciting show for the growth and advancement of cooled TOSAs, with big news and developments on 400G, PON, coherent optics and 25G products for 5G mobile.

Here are some of our biggest takeaways from OFC 2019:

  • 400G datacentersFinisar unveiled their new 400G DR4, 400G FR4 and 2x200G FR4 modules to support the shift to 400G datacenters. OIF member companies also demonstrated 400G-ZR interoperability with Common Electrical I/O (CEI)-112G and Flex Ethernet, demonstrating how these technologies can be integrated within the industry. For more on the thermoelectric cooling requirements driven by 400G datacenters, keep an eye out for our next blog post.
  • Next-generation line side: Acacia’s AC1200 earned a 5.0 from Lightwave’s Innovation Reviews program, the highest score possible. The AC1200 was recently used in the first 400G transmission across the Trans-Atlantic Marea Cable, and was demonstrated for 600G edge DCI and submarine data transport. NeoPhotonics also announced its Nano ultra-compact external cavity integrated tunable laser assembly (ITLA). It offers the same utlra-narrow linewidth, low frequency phase noise and low power consumption as the Micro-ITLA product line, but in a package that’s half the size. Longer reaches and shrinking package sizes are both major trends that we’ve been watching for a while, as they have serious implications on effective cooling.
  • Optics for 5G wireless: Finisar also gave a demo of its 25G solutions for 5G networks, which are optimized for cost and can support up to 1km spans. Are you interested in cooling for 5G applications? Read 4 design considerations that you’ll need to keep in mind.
  • 10G PON: China Telecom is considering WDM PON for 5G fronthaul, in order to meet latency and timing requirements. Broadband Forum also hosted a seminar that was focused on the NG-PON2 roadmap and evolution, to provide updates on deployment, component readiness, ecosystem maturity and planned applications.
  • Cost reductions: As we mentioned in our last post, 10G PON is in itself a highly competitive, cost-sensitive market. But the cost reduction conversations went beyond that. Our team at Phononic announced the general availability of the ReefTEC non-hermetic compatible TEC platform, enabling significant cost savings on cooled, non-hermetic TOSAs. This platform was recognized by the 2019 Lightwave Innovation Reviews program. The conference also held a Data Summit that focused on low-cost approaches for high-speed data center optics. Another session brought together industry leaders to discuss the Consortium for Onboard Optics (COBO) ecosystem, including past development and future technologies.

Surprises at OFC 2019

All in all, it was a great show for us this year, and we hope it was a great one for you as well. If you want to learn more about cost-effective, high-performance TECs (thermoelectric coolers), including non-hermetic solutions, contact us. Our engineers would be happy to discuss the specifics of your application.