OFC: II-VI and Samtec demo 56 Gbps PAM4 per channel FireFly™ on-board optical engines

Created March 7, 2019
Technologies and Products

Optical components specialist II-VI Inc and electronic interconnect solutions provider Samtec have unveiled new 56 Gbps PAM4 per channel next-generation Samtec FireFly™ on-board optical engine technology.  II-VI’s recently announced high speed VCSELs is embedded within the FireFly system architecture.

A demonstration platform, put through its paces at OFC 2019, showcased low latency, high performance, on-board optical engines. The partners point out that the FireFly™ Micro Flyover System™ copper and optical options offer a direct connection into the ASIC/FPGA package, bypassing the PCB for improved density and performance. The latest FireFly solutions are compatible with new generation FPGAs that support 56G PAM4 transceivers.

“The high-performance and compact size of the protocol-agnostic FireFly redefines optical connectivity in a broad range of applications such as video, aerospace, embedded computing, instrumentation, HPC and datacentre,” said Arlon Martin, senior. director, marketing, Samtec Optical Group. “This product demonstration leverages II-VI’s 56 Gbps PAM4 VCSELs, which are industry-leading in performance and reliability.”

“We worked closely with Samtec to ensure that our VCSELs exceeded the requirements for their high-performance 200G FireFly mid-board optical engines,” added Karlheinz Gulden, general manager, II-VI Laser Enterprise.

Samtec’s FireFly mid-board optical engines are designed to offer system designers flexibility and performance advantages compared to pluggable optical transceivers. FireFly features multiple optical front panel interconnect options. The engine’s footprint is 4x smaller than the standard quad small form-factor pluggable (QSFP) module size and uses the same micro connector for both optical and copper cable assemblies. FireFly enables 56 Gbps PAM4 that consumes only a few pico-joules of energy per bit.

II-VI’s 4-channel VCSEL arrays can be modulated at 56 Gbps PAM4 to achieve a combined 200 Gbps over short reach multimode links.

For more information, visit www.ii-vi.com or www.samtec.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.