Microchip, Acacia Communications collaborate on multi-rate optical transmission devices and software

Created February 1, 2019
Technologies and Products

Microchip Technology Inc, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Microsemi Corporation, and Acacia Communications, Inc have demonstrated interoperability between the former’s DIGI-G5 Optical Transport Network (OTN) processor and Acacia’s AC1200 Coherent Module. The objective of the companies’ collaboration is to enable the industry’s first flexible rate system architectures with an established ecosystem to support the market’s transition to 200G, 400G, 600G and flexible rate OTN networks built with new Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) and OTUCn protocols.

The duo says that by helping enable the market’s transition from 100G to flexible transmission system architectures, service providers could deploy higher bandwidth Ethernet connectivity at a faster rate and at a lower cost with Optical Internetworking Forum’s (OIF) FlexE protocol. FlexE was designed to provide up to 30% greater bandwidth efficiency compared to traditional Ethernet link aggregation (LAG) with fewer limitations. Combining it with OTUCn and tunable fractional Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) transmission brings service providers the potential to improve their OTN network capacity by up to 70%.

As the first OTN processor to support FlexE and OTUCn protocols, Microchip’s DIGI-G5 delivers the silicon and software required to launch new Terabit scale line cards with flexible rate optical interfaces for packet optical transport platforms. The combination of the DIGI-G5 and AC1200, is designed to help next generation architectures support the market’s growing demand for metro and datacentre interconnect networks requiring 100G+ connectivity that can be rate adjusted to maximise bandwidth.

“DIGI-G5 allows our optical transport system partners to deliver Terabit-class OTN switching line cards at 50% less power per port while enabling flexible rate ports and protocols up to 600G,” said Babak Samimi, vice president for Microchip’s Communications business unit. “Demonstrating interworking of the DIGI-G5 with Acacia’s AC1200 coherent module highlights that the ecosystem is ready to support the market transition to these new protocols, rates and multi-Terabit architectures.”

While the DIGI-G5 processes client traffic into OTN, the 1.2T AC1200 – powered by Acacia’s Pico digital signal processor (DSP) ASIC – on the line card will enable the OTN connections over two 600G tunable DWDM wavelengths with flexible transmission three-dimensional shaping features. These features, which include fractional QAM and adaptive baud rate, aim to optimise transmission reach and capacity, approaching theoretical limits on a wide range of network configurations, in a power efficient manner.

“In addition to high capacity and density, our AC1200 module introduces several key features designed to enable network operators to optimise capacity, reach and spectral efficiency — making flexible transmission solutions up to 600G a reality,” added Benny Mikkelsen, chief technology officer of Acacia Communications (pictured). “With Microchip’s DIGI-G5 scaling up capacity and reducing power at the same time, and the optical performance provided by our AC1200, we believe that Acacia and Microchip are helping to enable the market to scale network capacity with improved efficiency.”

For more information, visit www.microsemi.com and acacia-inc.com

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This article was written
by John Williamson

John Williamson is a freelance telecommunications, IT and military communications journalist. He has also written for national and international media, and been a telecoms advisor to the World Bank.