Intel adds 100G silicon photonics transceivers for the network edge

At this week’s European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) in Rome, Italy, Intel announces the expansion of its 100G silicon photonics transceivers beyond the data centre and into the network edge.

The 100G silicon photonics transceivers are optimised to accelerate the movement of massive amounts of data being generated by new 5G use cases and internet of things (IoT) applications, explains Intel. The silicon photonics transceivers are optimised to meet the bandwidth requirements of next-generation communications infrastructure while withstanding harsh environmental conditions.

Hyperscale cloud customers are currently using the 100G silicon photonics transceivers to deliver high-performance data centre infrastructure at scale. “By extending this technology outside the data centre and into 5G infrastructure at the edge of the network, we can provide the same benefits to communications service providers while supporting 5G fronthaul bandwidth needs,” said Dr. Hong Hou, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Silicon Photonics Product Division.

The ability to move, store and process data is increasingly vital, says Intel and the 100G silicon photonics offer fast, reliable and cost-effective connectivity. The industry’s move to 5G, and an increase in existing network traffic such as video streaming, are placing challenges on existing communications infrastructure that must support an expanded spectrum range including mmWaves, massive MIMO and network densification. These 100G silicon photonics transceivers meet the bandwidth demands of 5G wireless front haul applications and are designed to meet the harsh outdoor conditions of cellular towers with the capability to support optical transport to the nearest baseband unit or central office (up to 10km).

The company’s integrated laser into silicon approach makes its silicon photonics transceivers suitable for mass production and deployment as 5G infrastructure ramps, says Intel.

Samples of Intel’s silicon photonics transceivers targeting 5G wireless infrastructure are available now. Production start for the new silicon photonics wireless modules is scheduled for Q1 2019.

Earlier this year, Intel demonstrated its 400G silicon photonics capabilities. Samples of its 400G silicon photonics products are expected to be available next quarter with volume shipment of 400G modules slated for the second half of 2019.

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