Inphi Develops Single Chip Optics for Data Center Applications

By CIOReview | Wednesday, March 23, 2016
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SANTA CLARA, CA: Inphi Corporation, a provider of high-speed connectivity solutions, has announced the successful development of a highly integrated Silicon Photonics (SiPho) technology platform for 100Gbit/s data center applications. The single-chip SiPho optics includes multi-channel modulators, photo detectors, multiplexers, demultiplexers, optical power monitors and fiber coupling structures—all integrated onto a single integrated circuit (IC). The technology platform is suitable for best-in-class designs and high volume manufacturing as it shares a number of common building blocks. This fulfills the requirement for both intra and inter data center optical interconnects.

The augmentation of social networking, cloud computing, e-commerce and big data is driving both traffic and bandwidth within and between data centers. This is motivating mega-cloud data center operators to deploy high-density, low latency and low power 100G links to replace older 10G and 40G links.

The 100G upgrade cycle is expected to begin this year with the introduction of a new generation of 3.2T switches using QSFP28 pluggable transceivers inside data centers.  So, even though the interconnection of data centers needs massive bandwidths, they will act like a single data center dictating the use of 100G DWDM solutions. But this solution tends to consume more power and none can fit inside the power envelop for a QSFP28 form factor.

Inphi is addressing this challenge by introducing a highly integrated SiPho technology platform, coupled with low power DSP-based PAM4 and linear amplifiers/drivers to provide 100G DWDM PAM4 platform reference design for the QSFP28 form factor.  As these key building blocks closely interact together, Inphi is able to engineer each block for optimal performance and manufacturability, as well as reduce power and cost.

“Inphi selected Silicon Photonics over competing platforms, because it allows us to integrate multiple key photonics components in a single IC,” said Dr. Radha Nagarajan, CTO, Optical Interconnect, Inphi. “Silicon Photonics technology enables us to deliver innovative solutions to solve customer’s pain points today.  It also scales well into the future for next-generation optics.”