JDSU tunable transceiver features reduced footprint and power dissipation

MARCH 25, 2009 -- The company has announced a monolithically integrated and tunable optical transceiver to allow "pay-as-you-grow" provisioning.

MARCH 25, 2009 -- JDSU (search Lightwave for JDSU) reports that it has released the industry's first monolithically integrated and tunable optical transceiver. The company's tunable XFP transceiver is 85% smaller than previous tunable products, which it says allows network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) to pack more transceiver interfaces into a system or to deploy smaller systems within a network node. This in turn opens up valuable real estate for their service provider customers in network central offices.

According to JDSU, the tunable XFP transceiver will be the first pluggable device that service providers can deploy without fully populating line cards, so technicians can provision more transceivers to the line card in the field as needed in a "pay-as-you-grow" fashion, without affecting network performance.

The transceiver's size will also reduce power dissipation by 60%, says the company, thereby reducing electrical and cooling costs within network central offices.

JDSU began sampling the tunable XFP transceiver with customers in 2008 and expects to ship the product in volume by summer of 2009.

As increased consumer use of online video, voice, and data applications continues to put demands on network capacity, NEMs and service providers are under pressure to add optical solutions that can manage increased bandwidth flexibly and cost effectively. Optical transceivers act as a key interface to convert optical signals into electrical data as they exit DWDM networks.

"It is quite an accomplishment that JDSU was able to create a tunable solution and get all of the functionality into an XFP form factor," says Daryl Inniss, vice president and practice leader of communications components at Ovum (search Lightwave for Ovum). "The new JDSU tunable XFP transceiver could help system vendors realize a wide range of benefits including increased density, lower costs, and more flexible deployment options."

"The tunable transceiver market had not yet transitioned to pluggable solutions because the technology breakthroughs hadn't happened -- until now," claims Alan Lowe, president of the Communications and Commercial Optical Products business segment at JDSU. "We are engaged in twelve designs with nine customers and have received very positive feedback. Many of our top customers are already designing the JDSU tunable XFP transceiver into their next-generation systems."

JDSU used its functional integration product approach at the chip and module level to factor in size, cost, power efficiency, and performance.

  • JDSU photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology was used to develop the integrated laser Mach-Zehnder (ILMZ) tunable transmitter -- the engine of the tunable XFP -- that monolithically integrates a tunable laser, amplifier, and optical modulator on a single chip small enough to fit on a tip of a finger. JDSU announced this technology in 2007.
  • JDSU TOSA: The ILMZ was then housed in the small tunable transmitter optical subassembly (TOSA) package that JDSU announced in 2008. JDSU plans to make the tunable TOSA available to the open market.

The transceiver can be tuned as needed to support any wavelength in optical networks, compared to fixed products that required NEMs and service providers to predict demand by wavelength and hold expensive wavelength-specific inventory. Remote reconfigurability is intended to decrease the need for truck rolls to reconfigure or upgrade optical networks.

The tunable XFP transceiver will be demonstrated at JDSU's Booth #2015 during OFC/NFOEC 2009 in San Diego, CA from March 24-26.


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