Acacia unveils 100G coherent QSFP-DD optical transceivers for edge and access networks

Aug. 13, 2020
The new optical module is likely the first in a series of coherent optical transceivers aimed at point-to-point edge and access network applications.

Acacia Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACIA) is going back to the future, taking a break from pushing optical transmission to 400 Gbps and greater to debut a 100-Gbps QSFP-DD optical transceiver. The new optical module is likely the first in a series of coherent optical transceivers aimed at point-to-point edge and access network applications.

The fixed-wavelength optical module, now sampling to system houses, will support IP over DWDM style pluggable coherent interface requirements for applications such as cable MSO Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) Remote-PHY networks, 5G mobile network support, business services delivery, and other uses that might require reaches of around 120 km unamplified or need to support 100G transmission over older single-mode fiber, according to Acacia Vice President of Marketing Tom Williams. That likely includes data center interconnect, although Williams did not point to that application specifically.

While noting that plugging the coherent transceiver into routers and other platforms reduces cost by obviating the need for transponders, Williams said that the new coherent QSFP-DD was designed to be price-competitive with direct-detect modules. He noted that the company designed out as much cost as possible, making the coherent transceiver just “a little more expensive than a standard direct-detect solution.” He added that general availability is “not too far away.”

“Technology advancements have reached a point where coherent pluggables match the QSFP-DD form factor of grey optics, enabling a change in the way our customers build networks,” said Kevin Wollenweber, vice president, product management for Cisco’s Routing Portfolio via an Acacia press release. Cisco is in the process of acquiring Acacia (see “Cisco to buy Acacia Communications for optical transceiver, components play”). “100G edge and access optimized coherent pluggables will not only provide operational simplicity, but also scalability, making access networks more future proof.”

“Over the past decade, coherent technology has moved beyond its long-haul origins and is now firmly entrenched in the metro,” added Sterling Perrin, senior principal analyst, Heavy Reading, via the same release. “With the coming of 5G and edge computing, the time is right for coherent optics to take the next step and migrate to edge and access networks. Operators looking for scale and operational simplicity will find QSFP-DD coherent pluggables a compelling option compared to direct detect alternatives.”

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