Fujitsu Labs, Furukawa Electric develop optical interconnect technology

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. and Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. say they have developed optical interconnect technology for the high-speed, large-bandwidth internal data transmissions that will be needed for the next generation of high-performance servers.

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. and Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. say they have developed optical interconnect technology for the high-speed, large-bandwidth internal data transmissions that will be needed for the next generation of high-performance servers.

Ongoing improvements to CPU performance and the trend towards server virtualization are driving an increase in the volume of data exchanged between CPUs and memory chips. Accordingly, interconnects capable of handling several terabits per second of input/output signal-bandwidth capacity will become necessary.

Simply increasing the number of copper lines leads to problems of waveform degradation and signal interference. Optical fiber, on the other hand, can supply high speed, large bandwidth, and the right transmission distance. But the limited space inside servers has made it difficult to accommodate a large number of fiber-optic lines in this application.

Now Fujitsu Laboratories and Furukawa Electric say they have developed high-bandwidth optical interconnect technology that overcomes these space constraints. The use of highly flexible optical fibers, along with high-density optical connectors, enables capacity to be increased from the existing figure of 500 lanes to 2,000 lanes. At the same time, the speed per lane can be increased from 10 Gbps to 25 Gbps, resulting in a ten-fold increase in capacity overall – a total interconnect capacity of 50 Tbps.

These technologies were used to build a prototype optical midplane (the substrate connecting different boards) with optical fiber lines packaged densely together. The two companies aim to commercialize the technology within the next few years.

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