16 November 2010

Luxtera’s 25Gbps silicon photonics transceivers showcased

Luxtera Inc of Carlsbad, CA, USA has announced the demonstration of 25Gbps receiver technology in its CMOS-based silicon photonics platform.

The firm says that, leveraging the benefits of silicon photonics to overcome the barriers of current-generation parallel and serial 10Gbps solutions, it can now fully support what are claimed to be unmatched levels of optical interconnect bandwidth while offering extended reach at low cost. The technology, combined with Luxtera’s recently announced 25Gbps transmitters, enables the development of products for parallel 100Gbps InfiniBand and Ethernet, as well as for serial 32G Fibre Channel applications. Recognizing its potential impact in the high-performance computing (HPC) market, Luxtera was selected to showcase its transceivers as part of the disruptive technologies exhibit at this year’s SuperComputing event (SC10) in New Orleans (13–19 November).

“Processor computing capabilities are continuously increasing, putting pressure on the interconnect,” says Shai Rephaeli, VP of interconnect products at Mellanox Technologies of Sunnyvale, CA, USA and Yokneam, Israel. “Cost-effective, high-throughput interconnect solutions are required to support large-scale computing systems. Breakthroughs in interconnect technologies such as Luxtera’s high-speed transceivers will help enable economic solutions for these next-generation 100Gbps InfiniBand and Ethernet networks.”

Silicon photonics utilizes CMOS processes to deliver on-chip waveguide level modulation and photo-detection. Unlike traditional directly modulated transceivers, lasers in silicon photonics applications are always on, acting as a continuous supply of photons to the chip. In addition, light from a single laser is used to power multiple optical transmitters on a chip, eliminating the need for multiple lasers and reducing transceiver cost. This allows Luxtera to reuse the same laser used in current production 10Gbps transceivers to power next-generation higher-speed products, eliminating the need for the development of higher-speed light sources. When combined with single-mode fiber and waveguide photodetector receivers, this offers practically unlimited reach and performance at 25Gbps, the firm claims.

“Our large-scale data center spans thousands of square feet spread over multiple computer room floors in two buildings a mile apart,” says Bob Ciotti, supercomputing system lead at NASAs advanced supercomputing facility. “Our largest system currently has over 40 miles of InfiniBand cables, most of it parallel 10Gbps optical links. As we expand and transition to faster systems, we will require thousands of even faster optical transceivers that are cost effective, low power and can operate reliably from 10m to 2km,” he adds.

“Our 25Gbps silicon proven transceiver technology will enable data centers to keep pace with growing bandwidth demands, providing end-users with enhanced connectivity; all at a cost per gigabit lower than the current generation of interconnects,” reckons Luxtera’s VP of engineering Peter De Dobbelaere. “Selection to showcase in this year's SC10 disruptive technologies exhibit further underscores the technology's potential to disrupt the HPC landscape,” he adds.

“A technology is considered disruptive if it is so much better than current practice that it is poised to displace the incumbent technology and becomes the standard practice for future technologies,” says John Shalf of SC10. “We selected Luxtera's optical transceiver for the SC10 disruptive technologies exhibit because it represents a dramatic shift from conventional practice for these devices. To date, optical transceivers have relied on directly modulating the laser source, turning the entire laser on and off as fast as possible,” he adds. “Luxtera’s device uses silicon photonics technology to modulate the light directly rather than the laser source. This not only enables a path to scaling to even higher signaling rates, it can also greatly reduce the cost of optical devices in the future. Given these capabilities, it is poised to drastically change optical transceiver technology across the industry.”

Also, for the third consecutive year, Luxtera’s Blazar 40Gbps active optical cables (AOCs) will provide connectivity for the SC10 SCinet InfiniBand network, built for HPC demonstrations. Selected for its extended reach and reliability, Blazar can support up to 4000m and offers what is claimed to be the industry’s lowest power consumption of 20mW per Gigabit.

Luxtera is showcasing its 25Gbps transceiver technology in the disruptive technology booth (15–18 November). Its commercially shipping products, Blazar and OptoPHY (optics on motherboard transceivers) will be featured in Luxtera’s booth.

Commercial products based on 25Gbps transceiver technology availability will coincide with the market's introduction of 100Gbps EDR InfiniBand and 100G Ethernet Systems. Initial products will be delivered in 4x25G configurations, with potential platform extensions to highly parallel interconnects such as 12x and 16x.

Tags: Luxtera Silicon photonics transceivers

Visit: www.luxtera.com

Visit: http://sc10.supercomputing.org

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