Acacia Communications details 100-Gbps coherent optical module

Acacia Communications has finally gone public with details of its work on 100-Gbps coherent optical modules. The company has announced on the first day of ECOC in Amsterdam that it has been shipping its AC100 OIF-compliant module in production volumes since last year – well before its better-established competitors.

Sep 16th, 2012

Acacia Communications has finally gone public with details of its work on 100-Gbps coherent optical modules. The company has announced on the first day of ECOC in Amsterdam that it has been shipping its AC100 OIF-compliant module in production volumes since last year – well before its better-established competitors.

The startup’s advantage over these competitors is that it had the resources – both in expertise and funds – to develop its own DSP ASIC. Speaking with Lightwave, Raj Shanmugaraj, president and CEO at Acacia, admitted to Lightwave that the company partnered with outsiders for certain aspects of the ASIC design. Regardless, the device worked the first time, co-founder and CTO Benny Mikkelsen, pointed out. The optical components for the module came from outside sources.

The AC100 features lower power consumption than the OIF MSA specifications, soft-decision forward error correction (SD-FEC), and system and link performance monitoring capabilities, the Acacia sources said.

The company has shipped for deployment more than 500 of the Telcordia-qualified modules as of the first half of this year to a variety of systems vendors. Shanmugaraj says the customer roster includes systems houses with internal coherent technology development programs. He declined to detail how many customers the company serves or their identities. However, the company issued a press release that cited the application of the AC100 in a network that included “a 24-span, 2500-km all optical path through 9 ROADMs.” This example echoes a deployment in Mexico that Xtera Communications announced this past May (see “Mexico's CFE Telecom taps Xtera for 100G network”).

“Spending in the content provider and the enterprise spaces is driving a significant portion of the optical market as of Q2 of 2012, which is especially relevant for 100G vendors," said Eve Griliches, vice president, optical networking at market research firm ACG Research, via the same press release. “Acacia has demonstrable strength with product deployed in production networks with many customers now. Clearly they offer vendors, service providers, and content providers with an MSA solution that can be leveraged immediately.”

While Shanmugaraj said that some of Acacia’s customers are using the AC100 to support metro requirements, the company has a metro-optimized module on its to-do list. Shanmugaraj declined to provide further details of this effort.

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