Oclaro targets 100-Gbps coherent module availability for April 2012

Oclaro Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR) has released details of the MI 8000XM, its 100-Gbps coherent module. The company expects to begin shipping the 100-Gbps module in April 2012, which should put it in line with the release dates of competing 100-Gbps coherent modules.

[UPDATED] Oclaro Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR) has released details of the MI 8000XM, its 100-Gbps coherent module. The company expects to begin shipping the 100-Gbps module in April 2012, which should put it in line with the release dates of competing 100-Gbps coherent modules.

[UPDATE] The new MI 8000XM will join the 40-Gbps MI 5000XM within Oclaro’s portfolio of modules that pair dual-polarization quadrature phase-shift keying (DP-QPSK) modulation with coherent receiver technology. The MI 5000XM is currently shipping in volume.

[UPDATE} Oclaro has supplied 100-Gbps components on the open market for some time and will leverage this expertise for the MI 8000XM. However, unlike the 40-Gbps MI 5000XM, the new 100-Gbps optical transponder will not use chip technology from ClariPhy Communications, according to Per Hansen, vice president of product marketing for Oclaro's Optical Network Solutions unit. Oclaro invested in ClariPhy in May of last year.


Instead, Oclaro’s transponder will use a low-power digital signal processor large-scale integrated (DSP-LSI) circuit from NEL (NTT Electronics Corp.). The DSP-LSI, developed as part of the "R&D on High Speed Optical Transport System Technologies" project, has become the go-to device for 100-Gbps transponders. Oclaro’s competitors Opnext and Fujitsu both have announced that they will use this technology in their 100-Gbps coherent offerings, both of which are expected to reach the market at roughly the same time as Oclaro’s (see “Opnext targets April 2012 for 100G DP-QPSK coherent transponder module production” and “Fujitsu Optical Components announces 100-Gbps DP-QPSK transponder”).

[UPDATE] The use of the NEL device instead of a ClariPhy chip might raise an eyebrow, given the fact that Oclaro bought its stake in ClariPhy with 100-Gbps largely in mind (see “Oclaro: ClariPhy deal boosts 100G component and module play”) and uses ClariPhy technology in the 40-Gbps MI 5000XM. Hansen said use of the NEL chip is a case of having silicon with the required performance available in the proper time frame, and should not be construed as "a knock on ClariPhy" or a sign of trouble between the companies. Hansen hinted that ClariPhy might get its turn in the future.

But it would also seem that ClariPhy wasn't going to have its device ready in time for an April 2012 launch.

Regardless, Oclaro appears happy with what it will deliver. "Following on the success of our 40-Gbps transponders, the 100 Gbps MI 8000XM leverages Oclaro's expertise in module design combined with a deep understanding of high bit rate propagation challenges in optical fiber networks," said Dr. Terry Unter, president and general Manager of the Oclaro Optical Networks Solutions Business Unit. "The MI 8000XM transponder integrates the latest generation DSP with an advanced control and management implementation to deliver state-of-the-art performance in a module that is easy for our customers to integrate into their network equipment."

The availability of 100-Gbps modules will mark a new wave of high-speed system design. The first wave consists of proprietary designs created by systems houses using individual components. "Merchant coherent transponders are critical for mass deployment of 100-Gbps DWDM systems," said Ron Kline, principal analyst at Ovum. "We continue to see strong growth of coherent technology for both 40G and 100G applications. The availability of standardized modules will help lower system costs and increase market competitiveness of vendors offering high-capacity bandwidth solutions."

For more information on optical transceivers/transponders and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyers Guide.

More in Optical Tech