In this report, CIR analyzes the new 800G-and-above technologies and assesses their market potential. The coverage of this report is of the three main development programs in this area. The most conventional is to create an 800G pluggable transceiver which will be the natural successor 400G. This project has been taken on (somewhat paradoxically) by what used be the 25G Ethernet group, as well as by a largely Chinese group who plan to deliver an 800 MSA.
The other two research programs are much more radical. Specifically, they dispose with pluggability and deliver high data rates on a board. The point here is to move the ASIC and the optics closer to each other to reduce power consumption, the major factor constraining high data rate networking at the present time. One strategy is on-board optics, which migrates the optics from the pluggable transceiver to a board. The other version is co-packaged optics, in which the optics and the chip share a package.
Both these board approaches have existed in simple forms for more than a decade — often in connection with supercomputers or the largest routers. They have proved difficult to implement and the markets that can implement them for this kind networking have proved stubbornly niche-like. Indeed, there would no need for this kind of embedded optics if it wasn’t for the speed at which bandwidth is under demand. In not so many years’ time 51.2Tbps switching will demand new ways of interconnecting optics and electronics.
Although the technologies we discuss in this report are novel, we provide a quantitative and qualitative forecast of the revenues they are likely to generate, along with how revenues are likely to change under a variety of scenarios. We also discuss the challenges that networking at 800G face with device complexity and size, power consumption, and thermals. Finally, the report profiles the leading vendors and their strategies active in this area, as well as the standards and MSA activity that is emerging the new high-speed networking sector.
This report will be available on late July 2020