Expect co-packaged optics deployments in 2022: LightCounting

Dec. 10, 2020
LightCounting believes HPC and AI clusters will offer the most initial opportunity for co-packaged optics by 2025.

LightCounting, in a new report, says it expects products leveraging proprietary co-packaged optics technology to be announced next year and become available in 2022. While much of the public discussion of co-packaged optics has focused on its applicability to switch silicon, the market research firm notes in its December 2020 High Speed Cables, Embedded and Co-Packaged Optics report that CPUs, GPUs, and TPUs used in high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) clusters also should benefit, increasing the chances that the technology will become commercialized in the near future.

In fact, LightCounting believes HPC and AI clusters will offer the most initial opportunity for co-packaged optics by 2025 (see chart above). While industry groups such as OIF and the Coalition for On-Board Optics have only recently announced initiatives to build industry consensus and develop specifications, and the Facebook and Microsoft collaboration has just begun to offer guidelines, several companies already have development programs underway. These players include AMD, Broadcom, Cisco, Huawei, Intel, Nvidia, Samsung, and TSMC as well as emerging optical companies such as Ranovus, Rockley Photonics, and Ayar Labs (see “Ranovus announces single chip Odin silicon photonic engines for pluggable optical transceivers, co-packaged optics,” "Rockley Photonics discusses optoASICs and platform versatility," and “Ayar Labs partners with GLOBALFOUNDRIES for optical I/O demo, expanded sampling for co-packaged optics”). LightCounting believes the HPC, AI cluster, and military and aerospace markets will be open to the use of this technology, even in the absence of standards.

Which doesn’t mean the industry won’t see co-packaged optics implementations with data center switch chips. LightCounting notes that co-packaged optics will prove appealing for 51.2-Tbps switch silicon and even more so when such devices reach 102 Tbps. However, LightCounting doesn’t expect co-packaged optics to make widespread inroads into such applications until standards are in place.

LightCounting’s High Speed Cables, Embedded and Co-Packaged Optics report includes historical data (2016-2020) and forecasts (2021-2025) for shipments, revenues, and average selling prices for the products mentioned in the report’s title. The firm’s analysts explore technologies, market trends, protocol transitions, data rates, and MSAs for InfiniBand, Ethernet, and other protocols. Application segments are reviewed and 20 categories of products are individually tracked, forecasted, and mapped into four application segments: HPC and AI clusters, cloud (hyperscale data center), core routing and optical transport, and military/aerospace/other applications.

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