Finisar demos 50G transceiver based on silicon photonics

Created October 14, 2014
Applications and Research

At the ECOC Exhibition in Cannes, France, Finisar held what it claims is the industry’s first demonstration of a 50-Gbps optical interface using silicon photonics technology.

In the demo, Finisar showed both  40G and 50G NRZ-based transmission on a single wavelength over 12km of singlemode fibre. The CFP4 form factor transceivers were based on a CW DFB laser at 1310nm supported by a silicon photonics modulator on the transmit side, and a silicon/germanium photodetector on the receive side.

The demonstration was notable for a couple of reasons. First, because it showed single-wavelength 50G NRZ-based transceiver modules running error-free over singlemode fibre. The 50-Gbps wavelength represents the next step in the evolution of client-side transmission rates, as vendors look towards technologies that can enable 400G and Terabit Ethernet interfaces.

Finisar says the 50G transmission over singlemode fibre compliments an earlier demonstration at OFC 2014, which showed 50G transmission from a 1310-nm vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) over multimode fibre.

Second, Finisar wanted to show that it has access to silicon photonics technology. Finisar’s stock took a battering last year when an analyst downgraded it because the company didn’t have access to silicon photonics technology – which is expected to have a major impact on data centre optics.

Finisar must have been quietly working on its silicon photonics capability in the meantime, which it says has been developed in-house in collaboration with a fab partner.

Despite all the hype around silicon photonics, the company takes a pragmatic view. “We want our design teams to have access to as broad a toolkit as possible. This technology is very interesting to have as part of the toolkit,” said Rafik Ward, vice president of marketing at Finisar.

Finisar customer Cisco was supportive of the demonstration. “Cisco has made a significant investment in silicon photonics and we are excited to see Finisar advancing the development of this important technology. Silicon photonics technology has the potential to close the gap between switch ASIC and optical transceiver development cycles,” said Luca Cafiero, senior vice president and general manager of the Insieme business unit at Cisco Systems, via a Finisar press release.

By Pauline Rigby

See also:

Press release: Finisar First to Publically Demonstrate Complete End-to-End 50 Gb/s Optical Interface Using Silicon Photonics at ECOC 2014


This article was written
by Pauline Rigby