TE Connectivity unveils Coolbit optical engines

Following two years of development and incubation, TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL) is finally ready to talk about its new technology – Coolbit optical engines.

Following two years of development and incubation, TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL) is finally ready to talk about its new technology – Coolbit optical engines.

Coolbit optical engines increase the speed and lower the power consumption of data transmission, the company says. The optical engines, which convert data from electrical signals to optical signals, will be the driving technology behind TE's soon-to-be-released 100G, 300G, and 400G active optics for data center networks and connectivity.

As data center energy consumption concerns rise, along with the need for more data, cooling at the component level will continue to increase in importance. TE's latest 25G active optics, on which the optical engines are based, will help to achieve this, the company claims.

In 2014, TE plans to bring to market four active optics products that include the Coolbit optical engine platform:

  • 100G QSFP28 active optical cables (AOCs)
  • 100G QSFP28 optical transceivers
  • 300G mid-board optical modules
  • 400G CDFP AOCs.

"TE is a technology engineering company that operates with the agility of a start-up," said Philip Gilchrist, chief technology officer and vice president of TE Data Communications. "Creating 100G to 400G high-speed active optics will enable the industry to create breakthrough platforms and products. We've driven active optics to new levels of performance in terms of higher speeds at incredibly lower power consumption. We can't wait to see what radical new products our partners will create with our Coolbit engine-based products."

Boasting extremely low power consumption, with QSFP28 modules performing at less than 1.5 W per transceiver, the new line of 25G active optics could help communication systems achieve up to 60% in power savings, TE asserts. At the component level, this low power consumption can translate into significant system savings. In addition, for every watt of power saved at this level, equipment operators will realize additional operational savings, the company claims.

Preliminary tests carried out by TE reveal that mid-board optics need just 5 W per port and the CDFP active optical cable assembly (AOC) is 6 W per port. The CDFP AOC is being developed to comply with the multisource agreement (MSA) that is currently underway (see “Efforts toward 400 Gigabit Ethernet begin”). The MSA provisions 8 W per port, while TE's CDFP AOC yields 25% improvement over this specification. Coolbit optical engines are the enablers of this performance, satisfying both high density and high bandwidth requirements, the company says.

Each Coolbit optical engine, developed in TE's fabrication facility in Jarfalla, Sweden, uses 25G vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) and PIN devices, a TIA amplifier and a driver IC. From research to distribution, TE controls the entire manufacturing process of the Coolbit optical engines and active optic end products, and says this integrated approach enables the company to transfer cost savings to the customer, while helping to ensure the quality and reliability of its products.

TE Connectivity will demonstrate its 25G active optics featuring Coolbit optical engines at OFC, March 11–13, 2014, in booth #1521.

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