OIF explores energy-efficient electrical, optical interfaces for data centers, AI

July 6, 2023
Optical networking interoperability champion OIF notes that critical applications driving demand for energy-efficient links include data center networking, artificial intelligence training/machine learning and disaggregation.
Oif Logo Celebrating 25 Years
Oif Logo Celebrating 25 Years
Oif Logo Celebrating 25 Years
Oif Logo Celebrating 25 Years
Oif Logo Celebrating 25 Years

OIF recently announced the launch of its new Energy Efficient Interfaces (EEI) Framework project. Initiated at the organization's Q2 2023 Technical and MA&E Committees meeting in May, the project will focus on studying new energy-efficient electrical and optical interfaces.

OIF said the scope of the project includes the next generation of low power optics, also referred to as “Linear” or “Direct Drive” optics. These new interfaces will be required to meet the demands of various applications such as data center networking, artificial intelligence (AI) training/machine learning (ML) and disaggregation.

Through the new project, in a press release OIF stated that it "will explore and study energy-efficient links with less than fully retimed interfaces, which have the potential to unlock a multitude of benefits for diverse stakeholders."

OIF added that the project's "objective is to identify critical applications and their requirements for next-generation electrical and optical links, including die-to-die, co-packaged, near-packaged and pluggable solutions. The project will conduct a thorough study to identify critical issues associated with these links and identify opportunities to pursue interoperability standards. The findings of the study will be outlined in the Framework Document, which will serve as a technical white paper for the project," added the June 20 press release.

OIF board member Rob Stone of Meta Platforms commented: “With an increasing industry-wide demand, particularly from data center operators, the focus on energy efficiency is more important than ever. Addressing this need head-on, the new OIF framework will explore energy-efficient interfaces for the optical interconnects of next-generation data centers that will support the performance scaling of current internet applications and enable groundbreaking AI-driven applications and immersive experiences.”

“A primary goal of this project is to identify new opportunities for interoperability standards, laying the groundwork for potential future collaborations at OIF or other standards organizations,” added Jeff Hutchins, OIF Board Member and Physical & Link Layer (PLL) Working Group Co-Packaging Vice Chair and Ranovus.

“OIF is always listening to the wants and needs our members bring forward, and this project start proposal authored by several industry leading companies directly addresses a need that exists across many IT applications,” concluded Nathan Tracy, OIF Co-chair of the Market Awareness and Education committee and TE Connectivity. “This one project has the potential to significantly benefit several critical industry applications.”

Additionally, OIF noted that Yi Tang of Cisco Systems, was recently appointed as PLL Working Group Electrical Vice Chair.

Host of the annual OFC and ECOC tradeshows, OIF represents a technology ecosystem of more than 140 network operators, system vendors, component vendors and test equipment vendors collaborating to develop interoperable electrical, optical and control platforms that facilitate global open network connectivity.

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