Acacia, Oclaro join for CFP2-DCO optical transceivers

Acacia Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACIA) and Oclaro, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR) have announced they will collaborate to set up the latter as a second source of 100G/200G CFP2-DCO coherent optical transceivers based on Acacia’s Meru DSP. Oclaro expects to begin sampling its version of the CFP2-DCO optical module by the end of this year, with production following early in 2019.

May 29th, 2018

Acacia Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACIA) and Oclaro, Inc.(NASDAQ:OCLR) have announced they will collaborate to set up the latter as a second source of 100G/200G CFP2-DCO coherent optical transceivers based on Acacia’s Meru DSP. Oclaro expects to begin sampling its version of the CFP2-DCO optical module by the end of this year, with production following early in 2019.

The CFP2 Digital Coherent Optics (DCO) transceiver differs from the popular CFP2 Analog Coherent Optics (ACO) module in that it incorporates the coherent DSP ASIC or ASSP within the module; the CFP2-ACO interfaces with DSP silicon embedded on the linecard. Proponents of the CFP2-DCO say the device enables the addition of coherent optical transmission capabilities on a fully pay-as-you-grow basis, particularly on systems not initially designed for coherent transmission as well as new switch, router, and optical transport designs that benefit from the simplicity of not having to account for an onboard DSP chip.

Acacia has pioneered the CFP2-DCO; it announced its AC200-CFP2 optical transceiver family reached general availability at the end of last year (see “Acacia Communications coherent CFP2-DCO transceiver reaches general availability”). So far Acacia is the only company to achieve this milestone. Along these lines, Tom Williams, senior director, marketing at Acacia, told Lightwave that service providers like the technology – but would like it even better with a more diverse supplier ecosystem.

The collaboration with Oclaro addresses this desire. The two companies have worked together on specifications and related items to ensure full compatibility between Acacia’s transceiver and Oclaro’s upcoming module across all speeds and modes, including those that meet 100G Open ROADM MSA requirements, say sources at the two companies. However, Kevin Affolter, vice president, strategic marketing at Oclaro, stressed that his company’s optical module will not be the result of a full co-design. For example, Acacia has leveraged silicon photonics to enable the photonic integration necessary to enable its optical transceiver. Affolter said that Oclaro’s CFP2-DCO will be based fully on the company’s Indium Phosphide expertise. Use of differing material approaches creates a strengthened ecosystem, Affolter asserted.

The collaboration with Oclaro is not exclusive, said Williams. However, it is unlikely that Acacia will partner with another supplier on CFP2-DCO, as two suppliers is pretty much all the industry requires, he said. (Which doesn’t mean there won’t be more than two, if Menara Networks has its way.)

Affolter added that the relationship with Acacia will have no affect on Oclaro’s work with Ciena, which has supplied Oclaro (as well as Lumentum and NeoPhotonics) with access to its WaveLogic Ai DSP. The work with Ciena has focused on high-end 400-Gbps applications, Affolter pointed out.

Oclaro is in the process of being acquired by Lumentum, a deal expected to close in the second half of this year (see "Lumentum agrees to buy Oclaro for $1.8 billion").

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