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Unveiling the Future: The Evolution of 800G OSFP Optical Transceivers

Posted on Mar 25, 2024 by
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In the ever-evolving landscape of high-speed networking, the journey of 800G OSFP optical transceivers unfolds as a testament to innovation and advancement. From its inception to its current state, the evolution of 800G OSFP modules showcases the relentless pursuit of faster data transmission, higher bandwidth, and enhanced performance in modern data center environments. This article mainly shows the evolution route of 800G OSFP optical transceivers.

800G OSFP Optical Transceiver Evolution Route

Route 1: EML Route

The 800G DR8 OSFP optical transceiver integrates eight 100G EML lasers, representing a mature solution with robust performance. However, due to the high number of lasers, it incurs relatively higher costs. Looking ahead, advancements are anticipated to enable the realization of 800G DR4 OSFP, halving the laser count and consequently reducing costs. Long-term projections foresee the possibility of pricing approaching that of 400G optical modules.

Route 1: EML Route

Route 2: Silicon Photonics Route

Currently, the 800G silicon photonics employs a dual-laser drive method, leveraging the existing 400G DR4 solution for cost efficiency compared to EML alternatives. Looking ahead, advancements will lead to a transition to a single-laser driving approach, incorporating a thin-film lithium niobate modulator to minimize optical path loss. The single-laser solution in silicon photonics is poised for mass production by 2025, promising further cost reductions for the 800G DR8 silicon optical module. However, the dual-laser approach remains dominant in the mainstream for silicon photonics.

Route 2: Silicon Photonics Route

800G 2xFR4 OSFP Evolution Route

The current 800G 2xFR4 OSFP configuration utilizes two sets of 4-wavelength CWDM 100G EML lasers, each set comprising 4 lasers. However, future advancements will transition towards an FR4 setup employing 4 CWDM wavelength 200G EML lasers.

This shift to 800G FR4 necessitates the use of 4-wavelength CWDM lasers in silicon photonics solutions as well, eliminating any cost advantage. Currently, the mainstream preference lies with the EML scheme, with no ongoing exploration of silicon photonics schemes by manufacturers. The FS 800G 2xFR4 OSFP transceiver has cutting-edge features such as a self-developed 53G EML laser chip and built-in Broadcom 7nm DSP chip, ensuring unparalleled performance and reliability.

800G SR8 OSFP Evolution Route

Eight VCSEL lasers with a 50-meter transmission range are used in the 800G OSFP SR8 module. The application scenarios are more constrained than 400G SR8 because of the small distance. We can observe that the shorter the transmission distance of a VCSEL laser is the greater its single-channel rate by comparing the transmission distance of 10G, 25G, 50G, and 100G SR optical transceiver modules.

With the increasing single-channel rates of optical modules, VCSEL technology is reaching a bottleneck. Anticipating the era of 1.6T optical modules, VCSEL lasers may further limit transmission distances. For cost-effective solutions, customers may find 1.6T cable options more favorable. Consequently, the VCSEL laser's presence in the 1.6T optical module market is expected to diminish in the future.

800G SR8 OSFP Evolution Route

From CPO to LPO

CPO

The CPO solution stands out in that it eliminates one DSP chip, thereby reducing power consumption and cost. It innovatively integrates the switching chip, responsible for optoelectronic conversion, directly onto the optical module through co-encapsulation. This integration minimizes electrical signal loss, reducing latency and overall power consumption. However, challenges arise concerning co-packaging logistics and repair protocols for malfunctioning optoelectronic chip groups, potentially delaying large-scale production and application for up to three years or remaining in a conceptual phase indefinitely.

LPO

The LPO solution reduces power consumption by employing LPO linear direct drive technology and high linearity TIA and DRIVER chips. However, it sacrifices system error rate and transmission distance, making it suitable for specific areas. It relies on improvements in switching chip performance and may achieve transmission distances of up to 500m in the future, becoming a solution for data centers.

From CPO to LPO

In essence, LPO represents the evolutionary path of pluggable optical modules in terms of packaging. It offers a more straightforward and reliable alternative compared to the CPO solution.

Summary

Embarking on a journey through the evolution of 800G OSFP optical transceivers reveals a landscape shaped by innovation and technological prowess. As we navigate towards faster data transmission, higher bandwidth, and enhanced performance, the diverse routes showcased here underscore the dynamic nature of modern data center environments. With each advancement, we move closer to unlocking new possibilities and redefining the future of high-speed networking.

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