18 June 2020
NeoPhotonics demos 90km 400ZR transmission in 75GHz DWDM channels, enabling 25.6Tbps-per-fiber capacity
NeoPhotonics Corp of San Jose, CA, USA – a vertically integrated designer and manufacturer of silicon photonics and hybrid photonic integrated circuit (PIC)-based lasers, modules and subsystems for high-speed communications – has completed experimental verification of the transmission of 400Gbps data over data-center interconnect (DCI) ZR distances in a 75GHz-spaced dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) channel.
NeoPhotonics achieved two milestones using its interoperable pluggable 400ZR coherent modules and its specially designed athermal arrayed waveguide grating (AWG) multiplexers (MUX) and de-multiplexers (DMUX). First, data rate per channel increases from today’s non-interoperable 100Gbps direct-detect transceivers to 400Gbps interoperable coherent 400ZR modules. Second, the existing DWDM infrastructure can be increased from 32 channels of 100GHz-spaced DWDM signals to 64 channels of 75GHz-spaced DWDM signals. The total DCI fiber capacity can thus be increased from 3.2Tb/s (100Gb/s/channel x 40 channels) to 25.6Tb/s (400Gb/s/channel x 64 channels), which is a total capacity increase of 800%.
NeoPhotonics says that its technology overcomes multiple challenges to transporting 400ZR signals in 75GHz-spaced DWDM channels. The 400ZR signal utilizes an approximately 60Gbaud symbol rate and 16 QAM modulation, resulting in a broader transmitting signal spectrum compared to that of a standard 100Gb/s coherent or PAM4 signals. Furthermore, it is recognized that the center frequencies of the lasers, MUX and DMUX will all drift due to temperature changes and aging. Consequently, as the channel spacing is reduced from 100GHz to 75GHz, adjacent channel interference (ACI) becomes more critical, and can potentially degrade the optical signal-to-noise ratio of 400ZR signals.
The filters used in the MUX and DMUX units are designed to limit ACI while at the same time having a stable center frequency against extreme temperatures and aging. The optical signal spectrum of the pluggable 400ZR transmitter is very important for two reasons. First, the spectrum should not be too wide, as that would result in ‘spillover energy’ impacting its neighboring DWDM channels. Second, it also cannot be too narrow, as that would degrade the signal quality or even recoverability, especially after the MUX and DMUX filtering.
NeoPhotonics has demonstrated end-to-end 90km DCI links using three in-house 400ZR pluggable transceivers with their tunable laser frequencies tuned to 75GHz spaced channels, and a pair of passive 75GHz-spaced DWDM MUX and DMUX modules designed specifically for this application. The optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) penalty due to the presence of the MUX and DMUX and the worst-case frequency drifts of the lasers, as well as the MUX and DMUX filters, is less than 1dB. The worst-case component frequency drifts were applied to emulate the operating conditions for aging and extreme temperatures.
“The combination of compact 400ZR silicon photonics-based pluggable coherent transceiver modules with specially designed 75GHz-channel-spaced multiplexers and de-multiplexers can greatly increase the bandwidth capacity of optical fibers in a DCI application and consequently greatly decrease the cost per bit,” says chairman & CEO Tim Jenks. “These 400ZR coherent techniques pack 400Gbps of data into a 75GHz-wide spectral channel, placing stringent requirements on the multiplexers and de-multiplexers,” he adds. “We are uniquely able to meet these requirements because we do both design and fabrication of planar lightwave circuits and we have 20 years of experience addressing the most challenging MUX/DMUX applications.”