Kaiam Corp. and Corning Inc. (NYSE:GLW) combined at OFC 2017 to demonstrate an optical engine and singemode fiber interface connector that could be co-packaged with a 12.8-Tbps switch chip. Based on Kaiam's Co-Packaged Photonic Interconnect (CoPPhI) architecture for the optical engine and Corning's connector, the approach attempts to address the interest expressed by several data center network operators at the show in optical input/output (I/O). The collaborators say that by converting high-speed signals to optical within the switch package, the approach could reduce chip interconnect power consumption by half.
Kaiam says that CoPPhI overcomes the barriers that the requirement for sub-micron alignment tolerances posed to practical co-packaged single-mode optical interconnect for switch chips. The CoPPhI optics can support 1.6-Tbps throughput from four fibers at 400 Gbps per fiber (in 4x100G increments, which Kaiam asserts can be extended to eight wavelengths). The demo, however, interoperated at 25 Gbps per wavelength via a standard CWDM4 transceiver.
Kaiam says that multiple CoPPhI engines can be co-packaged close to the four sides of a switch ASIC to support 12 Tbps or more of optical connectivity. Single-mode fibers are interfaced to the engine using a low-profile, precision connector (which Corning provided for the demo) that is compatible with electronic packaging and assembly processes including solder reflow.
"On-board optics, such as the Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO), allow the industry to explore post-pluggable usage models, but still require power-hungry electrical interfaces," says Rob Kalman, vice president of marketing at Kaiam. "We're working on the part of the problem that actually eliminates this power while also addressing the pressing cost and density needs of our hyperscale data center customers.
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