Consortium for On-Board Optics promises COBO-compliant optical modules at ECOC 2018

The Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) says that Molex, a Ciena and SENKO team, TE Connectivity, Credo, and Applied Optoelectronics Inc. (AOI) will display at ECOC 2018 next week in Rome the first optical modules and related technology compliant with the group’s recently released specifications. As the name of the consortium implies, COBO has focused on development of specifications for onboard optical modules that can be installed on line cards near to related silicon. Use of such modules should improve transmission efficiency and improve faceplate density as transmission rates climb to 400 Gbps and higher, COBO members believe.

The Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) says that Molex, a Ciena and SENKO team, TE Connectivity, Credo, and Applied Optoelectronics Inc. (AOI) will display at ECOC 2018 next week in Rome the first optical modules and related technology compliant with the group’s recently released specifications (see "COBO offers Release 1.0 specifications for onboard optical modules"). As the name of the consortium implies, COBO has focused on development of specifications for onboard optical modules that can be installed on line cards near to related silicon (see "Consortium for On-Board Optics targets specs for higher data center faceplate density"). Use of such modules should improve transmission efficiency and improve faceplate density as transmission rates climb to 400 Gbps and higher, COBO members believe.

Molex will display a COBO module-based reference layout board that includes high-density front panel optical EMI shielding adapters, a blind-mate optical backplane interconnect, and an on-card optical cabling featuring the company’s FlexPlane technology.

Ciena and SENKO, meanwhile, will leverage the latter’s CS Connector, MPO PLUS Bayonet, and μ-LC to show how low-profile faceplate connectors can enhance air flow and fiber management inside transmission platforms. The companies also will offer two whitepapers. The first discusses how data center interconnect traffic growth drives the need for increased electrical high-speed signaling, best-in-class layout, and selection of printed circuit board laminate. It offers an analysis of different material properties in the context of COBO applications and verifies compliance to OIF CEI-56G-VSR-PAM4. The second whitepaper describes a thermal assessment that includes a coherent application; the assessment verifies the thermal capabilities of the COBO module for use in a 1RU line card with 14.4 Tbps of total capacity.

TE Connectivity and Credo will partner on a 112-Gbps demonstration via a test setup that will illustrate the feasibility of using 100-Gbps electrical lanes based on TE Connectivity’s channel and connector driven by Credo Semiconductor transceiver silicon.

AOI will display a silicon photonics-based 400-Gbps 16-lane on-board optics device that can support 2 km at 1310 nm. The module is based on COBO form factor, electrical pin out, and electrical connector specifications.

“Next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are progressing at a rapid rate, and all stand to benefit from equipment manufacturers’ adoption of on-board optics,” said Brad Booth, president of COBO. “The data produced by these applications needs to move efficiently and rapidly between devices, and the demonstrations not only represent a significant step forward in achieving this through board-mounted optical modules but also a big step towards mass deployment of interoperable solutions.”

The COBO demonstrations will take place at Stand 608 at ECOC September 24-26.

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