OFC 2018 is in full swing this week at the San Diego Convention Center. Attendees from around the globe are attending plenary sessions, technical seminars, visiting exhibitor booths or meeting on the sidelines.
What are some of the trends emerging from the show?
Global 5G Rollout Will Affect Fiber Optics
5G network deployment is definitely accelerating. The US-based legacy providers both promise 5G will roll out to selected cities in 2018. Local governments are installing 5G small cell antennas to create their localized networks.
How does this affect the fiber industry? 5G leverages new (ie. 60 GHz) and unused frequency bands to drive wireless data throughput.
High frequency bands have millimeter wavelengths. Smaller wavelengths support higher data rates (ie 10 Gbps), but antenna transmission range is limited to a few hundred meters. More antenna are required to cover more small cell coverage areas.
Small cell antennas transmit signals to larger cell towers and backhaul applications via fiber optics. Some industry data shows that up to 90% of global 5G traffic will run over fiber optics.
Numerous OFC 2018 exhibitors have refined their portfolios and solutions for rapid 5G installation, while future proofing the installation for higher data rates. New optical fibers also have to provide power to the installations as well.
Samtec’s FireFly™ Micro Flyover System™ offers system designers a flexible architecture to support either optical or copper solution.
FireFly is found in many 5G instrumentation applications. One example is the Guzik ADP7000 Series Digitizers for 5G New Radios.
56 Gbps Silicon is Real
A growing, industry wide trend is the continued roll out of 56 Gbps (and faster) silicon solutions. FPGA vendor Xilinx has several demos showing their latest test chip with 58 Gbps PAM4 GTM transceivers.
One demonstration in the Xilinx booth at OFC 2018 runs multiple GTM transceivers over an emulated backplane system. Samtec has also partnered with Xilinx to route 56 Gbps PAM4 transceivers via FQSFP-DD and AcceleRate® Cable CredAssembly solutions. Good results have occurred (BER 1E-13).
Xilinx expects to have production-grade FPGA silicon with 56 Gbps PAM4 transceivers availble sometime the second half of 2018.
112 Gbps Silicon is Coming
There are several demonstrations of 112 Gbps silicon solutions at OFC 2018 both by the silicon vendors and their partners.
Xilinx also had a single-channel 112 Gbps PAM4 transceiver test chip running in their booth. The demo was completely surrounded by OFC 2018 attendees because of the piqued interest in the new technology. Production silicon is a few years away.
Credo Semiconductor has several CDR and retimer solutions available to support 112 Gbps PAM4 data rates. Samtec has also partnered with Credo to route 112 Gbps PAM4 CDRs and retimers via the FQSFP-DD and AcceleRate® Cable Assembly solutions. Good results have occurred (BER 1E-7).
OFC 2018 continues through the week. Check back on the Samtec blog next week for video updates of all the new demonstrations Samtec has at the trade show.