Huawei: Customer Perspective on Optical module and Silicon Photonics

         Introduction: At the 2nd China silicon photonics industry forum, Dr. Xie yaohui, an expert from HW, published the theme report of “customer perspective on optical module and silicon photonics industry”. He expressed his hope that can provide some thoughts on how to find the right industrial path in the pursuit of low cost and low power consumption through the insight of application scenarios and the perspective of architecture to examine the optical module and silicon photonics industry based on the life cycle.
         Dr Xie said that optical module are like blood vessels in the body, making high-speed connections, it can be used in wireless access, home broadband, data centers, and submarine cables. Once a failure occurs, the higher rate, the larger impact area. At present, the two types of networks have very different demands for optical modules: operator network and OTT DCN network. Operator networks have high requirements on service capability, wide range and complex application environments.The OTT DCN network is centralized and the computer room is relatively easy to manage. The life cycle of operator network is long and can coexist in multiple generations, while OTT DCN network generation of three to five years. The operator network has a high reliability requirement, which can only have 1‰ failure rate. The failure of OTT DCN network modules only need be replaced in time, with high fault tolerance. The performance difference between the two modules is also large, the operator module is more expensive. The main demand of optical interconnection for optical modules is low cost, low power consumption, easy to use and reliable. Low cost should be done by design, simple architecture, high integration, and economic mass production. In terms of low power consumption, it is necessary to improve the integration capability and the application of advanced technology. Pluggable modules have become a mature industry, which can realize multi-vendor interconnection by meeting the optical port standardization. Taking the current mainstream 100G as an example, it mainly adopts the 4*25 architecture and the QSFP package has achieved a large amount. The module architecture of the device’s main chip driver is slower than that of DCN. The former is 3-year architecture, while the latter is 2-year architecture.
          Silicon photonics has the advantages of multi-channel integration and continuous evolution. Theoretically, it can meet the demand of bandwidth growth through scale integration. Silicon photonic does not perform as III-V compounds in lasers, modulators, detectors, and drivers, but because it has the potential advantages of integration and chip-oriented, we hope to find a balance between performance and cost to make a breakthrough. The development of silicon photonics is bright. Although the output value of silicon photonics modules only accounts for 8% of the whole optical module in 2018, the average annual growth rate reached 38.3%.
        Finally, Dr. Xie concluded three points:
1.We should look for the module solution from the network architecture, demand normalization and industry.
2.Network quality is the bottom line. It is necessary to stick to it and achieve low OpEx over the entire life cycle.
3.The silicon photonics technology platform can effectively meet the demands of future traffic growth, but requires large investment and industry coordination. Heterogeneous integration is a viable path.

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