Market prospect of 400G technology and related products

16-10-2019

In 2018, the Ethernet market of 100G data center is in full swing, which is the main battle field for optical module manufacturers. With the growing maturity of 100G series products from major manufacturers, shipments are increasing. Among these products, there are both traditional solutions based on the III-V family and new forces based on silicon optical technology. The technical threshold of 100G has been crossed, and it has become the mainstream and the first choice for the strong demand of data center. It is no longer the synonym of high-end optical module. With the rapid development of technology, in order to meet the growing bandwidth demand of large-scale data center, we have put our hope on the 400G optical module. 400G optical module is generally considered as a solution that can effectively reduce the cost of bandwidth in the industry.


Not long ago, CAICT China Information and Communication Institute released the "2018 Data Center White Paper", which is expected to be deployed on a scale of 400G optical modules in 2019.

400G QSFP DD AOC1, Optical module market demand is strong


According to ODCC statistics, as of the end of 2017, the deployment volume of micro-module data centers has increased from 300 sets in 2013 to 4,500 sets, equivalent to more than 50,000 20A rack sizes, and pre-module data centers have completed 9100 40A whole cabinets. The deployment is equivalent to 18,000 20A standard cabinets. The modular data center has accumulated about 70,000 standard racks and has a capacity of more than 1 million servers. After 6 years of operation, it is safe and stable. The average PUE is reduced by 0.2-0.4, the operating cost is reduced by 20%-40%, and the energy saving and reducing effect is very obvious. It has a strong driving and leading role in the modularization and greening of the data center industry. The continuous construction and transformation of the data center has stimulated the market demand for optical modules, and the market for optical modules has continued to expand. 40G and 100G are gradually being widely used, and 400G research and development has accelerated production. As a data center switch interconnection technology, optical modules have experienced 10G->40G->100G changes. Currently, 40G and 100G optical modules are used in new or modified data centers. At the same time, in order to seize the market opportunity, each manufacturer speeds up the research and development of 400G optical modules.


At the 2018 US OFC Optical Fiber Communication Exhibition, including Hisense Broadband, Lightspeed Technology, Finisar, Mellanox, and Xuchuang Technology, more than 10 companies exhibited on-site demonstrations of 400G optical modules. At present, some companies have already sent 400G optical modules for sample testing and have mass production capabilities. It is expected that the 400G optical module will be deployed on a large scale in 2019.


2, Market prospect of 400G optical module

As a solution for data center 400G optical modules, the two mainstream packaging formats are OSFP and QSFP-DD. OSFP and QSFP-DD also provide 8 transmission channels on the electrical interface, supporting PAM4 signals (50Gb/s) with 25GBaud baud rate, thus enabling 8x50Gb/s=400Gb/s signal transmission. The size of the OSFP is slightly wider and longer than the QSFP-DD, thus taking up more PCB surface area of the switch. The OSFP can be configured with 32 ports per 1U panel on the switch, while the QSFP-DD can be configured with 36 ports. Therefore, from the perspective of switch bandwidth capability, QSFP-DD can be used to add 4 ports. And QSFP-DD has backward compatibility with QSFP and QSFP28. From these two points, the future of QSFP-DD seems to be brighter. However, the smaller size of the QSFP-DD package requires higher design requirements for the module, which puts higher requirements on the device package, module performance, power consumption, and yield of the module, which may result in the module. The cost is rising. At present, different customer groups have requirements for both packaged modules, and it is difficult to see which package has an absolute advantage.


In order to meet the needs of different customers, the development of the 400G QSFP-DD and OSFP module series has been carried out. I believe that in the near future, 400G optical modules will usher in a warm "spring." Recently, Cisco added four 400GbE models to its Nexus series Ethernet switches, and announced that it will be field tested during the year and is expected to be released in the first half of next year. Broadcom also released the 400G PAM-4 PHY chip BCM87400. It seems that the era of 400G is coming.


400G product applications:

1. Super Cloud Data Center Network

2. Wired infrastructure

3, 400Gb/s QSFP-DD / PSFP optical module

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