Re-tooled 10G wideband tunable SFP+ modules reduce data center power consumption

Oclaro's next-generation InP tunable laser technology enables operation at high temperatures with less than 1.5W power consumption.

At the recent OFC 2014 conference, Oclaro (NASDAQ: OCLR) demonstrated its latest tunable SFP+ module, based on a new proprietary InP tunable laser platform.

Building on Oclaro's history of 10G tunable DWDM products, the new tunable SFP+ module is based on the latest version of a compact monolithically Integrated Laser Mach-Zender (ILMZ) chip, enabling the module to achieve leading-edge OSNR performance while providing approximately 60% reduced power consumption and 50% smaller form factor than current tunable XFP offerings, according to the company.

The company notes that the tunable SFP+ module is an important building block for next generation data center, metro and regional optical network equipment because it can reduce the size and power consumption for 10G connections while supporting the network operators' rapidly increasing capacity needs driven by data-heavy network applications.

Oclaro contends that first generation tunable SFP+ modules were not widely adopted because they did not meet the critical requirement of less than 1.5W of power consumption at high operating temperatures without compromising performance when stacking multiple transceivers on high-density line cards. In addition, some of these first generation products were designed with a non-standard mechanical footprint that allowed for heat dissipation, but did not enable customers to re-use existing reference board designs.

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With its new tunable SFP+ laser design, Oclaro claims to have now solved these critical issues through an innovative new chip design and the use of next generation materials that enable the module to be fully compliant to the SFP MSA form factor and operate at 1.5W at 70 degrees C with excellent OSNR tolerance.

"Oclaro has been at the forefront of tunable laser technology advancements with its leading portfolio of iTLAs, 300-pin MSA transponders and pluggable T-XFP transceivers," comments Yves LeMaitre, President of Optical Connectivity Business at Oclaro. "With our new tunable SFP+ module, we've leveraged this expertise to solve the challenges our customers face when they need high-density cards operating at high temperatures while remaining within the power budget and offering the same level of performance and reliability as previous tunable offerings."

Featuring proprietary laser and modulator control algorithms integrated in the product firmware, the new Oclaro tunable SFP+ module takes advantage of new materials that improve the performance of Digital Supermode Distributed Bragg Reflector (DS-DBR) tunable lasers designed on an InP photonic integration platform. This includes the use of Aluminum Quaternary active layers embedded into the device structure for significantly reducing power consumption and shrinking the size of the laser and modulator chip.

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Other key highlights of the new tunable SFP+ modules include: multi-rate operation from 9.95 Gbit/s to 11.3 Gbit/s; tunable across the full C-band with 96 channels on the ITU-T 50GHz grid; and APD photo detector functionality supporting limiting or linear electrical interfaces.

To highlight the tunable laser's ability to deliver reduced power consumption at very high temperatures, Oclaro demonstrated the SFP+ module operating at up to 85 degrees C in its booth during the recent OFC conference in San Francisco. The company said the demonstration was designed to validate the ability of Oclaro customers to develop higher density line card solutions in the future, when cooling capacity is expected to be even more challenging.

The new modules are sampling now, with volume production expected for Q3 of 2014.

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