Beyond 400G: The Prospects for 800G, Terabit Pluggables, On-Board Optics, and Co-Packaged Optics

The main objective of this 800 Gbps transceivers report is to assess the market potential of optical networking operating at 800G and above. The report is especially focused on technologies coming out of the efforts to build high-speed interfaces based on pluggable optics, on-board optics and co-packaged optics. CIR compared the approaches, discuss their viability and construct roadmaps for each technology.

Another key objective for this report is to better understand of the factors driving the need for networking in this space. It looks at the impact of video/streaming media, which has grown to an even greater extent because of COVID-19. 5G and IoT seem certain future bandwidth hogs, but what about virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and AI? CIR notes that the advent of the 51.2T switching chips will be a key enabler for switching gear with 800G and above ports.

The report also analyzes current efforts to deploy 800G in the public network. Here the drivers are almost identical; video, 5G and so on, although 5G is more emphasized. But the players are quite different.

Although the technologies we discuss in this report are novel, it provides a quantitative and qualitative forecast of the shipments and revenues they are likely to generate, under different (high-end and low-end). We also provide an appendix to the report providing profiles of leading firms active in this space. Among the companies discussed in this report are Broadcom, Ciena, Cisco, Facebook, Huawei, IBM, Infinera, Intel, Mellanox, Microsoft, Ranovus and Samtec.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction: Data Beyond 400G
1.1 Background to this Report
1.1.1 The Case for 800G
1.1.2 Core Drivers for 800G
1.1.3 Pluggable and “Embedded Optics” for the 800G Era
1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report
1.3 Methodology Used in this Report
1.3.1 Forecasting Methodology
1.4 Plan of this Report

Chapter Two: 800G and Above: Real Need or Science Project?
2.1 800G in the Context of High-Speed Networking
2.2 The Hunger for 800G in the Data Center is Already Here
2.2.1 The Video Age May be Passing
2.2.2 Impact of 5G on Bandwidth Hunger 1
2.2.3 Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Services
2.3 Enabling Technologies and Architectures
2.3.1 Latency Considerations for 800G Networks
2.3.2 A Note on Edge Computing
2.3.3 The Power Consumption Factor
2.4 Market Players
2.4.1 Involvement of the Cloud Providers in New Networking Technologies
2.4.2 800G and above in the Public Network
2.5 Onward to Terabit Networks
2.6 Key Points from this Chapter

Chapter Three: Next-generation Ethernet: 800G Pluggable
3.1 The Ethernet Technology Consortium’s 800G standard: An Assessment
3.1.1 Architecture and Emerging Standards
3.1.2 Time to Market and Acceptance Issues
3.2 The QSFP-DD800 MSA
3.2.1 QSFP-DD800 in the Context of QSFP
3.2.2 Specifications for QSFP-DD800 MSA
3.3 Proposal for 800G Pluggable MSA: China’s entry in 800G
3.3.1 Design Considerations
3.4 A Note on Eoptolink 800G Products
3.5 Key Points from this Chapter

Chapter Four: On-Board Optics: Whither COBO?
4.1 The History and Philosophy of On-board Optics
4.2 The Origins and Goals of COBO
4.3 COBO Products and Technologies
4.3.1 COBO Compliance Boards
4.3.2 COBO Modules
4.3.3 COBO Switches
4.4 COBO and Coherent
4.5 CIR’s View on the Future Scenarios for COBO
4.5.1 The Impact of non-Pluggability
4.5.2 High and Low Scenarios
4.6 Key Points from this Chapter

Chapter Five: Is Co-Packaging the Next Big Thing?
5.1 The Evolution of Co-Packaging
5.1.1 When will Co-Packaging Achieve Competitive Advantage?
5.2 Examples of Current Co-packaged Optics Today
5.2.1 IBM
5.2.2 Intel Tofino2 Co-Packaged Switch
5.2.3 Rain Tree Photonics
5.2.4 POET Technologies
5.2.5 Ranovus
5.2.6 Rockley Photonics
5.3 The Co-Packaged Optics Collaboration: Goals and Roadmap
5.3.1 Goals of the CPO Collaboration
5.3.2 Structure of Subsystem
5.4 A Note on OIF
5.5 Scenarios, Forecasts and Timetables for Co-packaged Products
5.5.1 An Optimistic Scenario for Co-packaged Optics
5.5.2 Pessimistic Scenario for Co-packaged Optics
5.6 Key Points from this Chapter

Chapter Six: 800G and Beyond in the Public Network: Market Drivers and Market Players
6.1 State of Art: Trials
6.2 Infinera (United States)
6.2.1 Verizon (United States)
6.2.2 Windstream (United States)
6.3 Ciena (United States)
6.3.1 Comcast (United States)
6.3.2 Verizon (United States)
6.3.3 Vodaphone (New Zealand)
6.3.4 Southern Cross (Bermuda)
6.4 Huawei (China)
6.4.1 Turkcell (Turkey)
6.4.2 China Mobile (China)

Chapter Seven: Ten-year Forecasts: A Speculation
7.1 800G Forecasts: Food for Thought
7.2 Plausible Assumptions
7.3 Thoughts on Pricing and Market Inflection Points
7.4 Ten-year Forecast of 800G Markets
7.5 Ten-year Forecast of Markets Above 800G
7.5 Summary of Ten-year Forecasts of 800G and Above Transceivers

Appendix: Vendor Strategies for 800G and Above
A.2 Arista
A.3 Broadcom
A.4 Cisco
A.5 Facebook
A.6 Google
A.7 Huawei
A.9 Intel
A.10 Mellanox
A.11 Microsoft
A.12 Ranovus
A.13 Samtec
About the Author
Acronyms and Abbreviations Used in this Report

List of Exhibits

Exhibit 2-1: Technologies for Improving Data Rates
Exhibit 2-2: On-Board Optics versus Co-Packaged Optics
Exhibit 2-3: Media Streaming Data Rates
Exhibit 2-4: Networking at 800G and Above in Data Centers and Public Networks
Exhibit 4-1: High- and Low- Market Scenarios for COBO Products
Exhibit 5-1: Impact of Current Co-packaged Optics Products
Exhibit 5-2: CPO Collaboration
Exhibit 5-3: 224G OIF CEI Considerations
Exhibit 6-1: Current 800G Trials
Exhibit 7-1: Plausible Assumptions for Any 800G and Above Forecast
Exhibit 7-2: 800G Inflection Points and Price Points
Exhibit 7-3: Ten-year Forecast of 800G Transceivers
Exhibit 7-4: Ten-year Forecast of Terabit Networking Transceivers and Boards
Exhibit 7-5: Summary of Market Forecasts for 800G and above Transceivers
Exhibit A-1: Membership of the 800G-and-above Groups

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