First COBO-compliant Optical Modules to be Debuted at ECOC 2018


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The Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) will host the global premiere of the world’s first COBO-compliant optical modules at the ECOC Exhibition 2018.

Featuring solutions from Molex, Ciena and SENKO, TE Connectivity, Credo, and AOI, the COBO-hosted showcase will reveal a glimpse into next-generation system architectures which mount on-board optical modules to printed circuit boards.

A goal of COBO is to bring interoperable and interchangeable optical modules into the manufacturing of networking equipment to help address industry challenges, including continual traffic growth, the need for lower power consumption and the increasing speeds of networking technologies such as 400 Gigabit Ethernet.

“Next-generation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, 5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are progressing at a rapid rate and all stand to benefit from equipment manufacturers’ adoption of on-board optics,” said Brad Booth, President of COBO. “The data produced by these applications needs to move efficiently and rapidly between devices and the demonstrations not only represent a significant step forward in achieving this through board-mounted optical modules but also a big step towards mass deployment of interoperable solutions.”

As part of the showcase, Molex will display a COBO module-based reference layout board that includes high-density front panel Optical EMI shielding adapters, a blind-mate optical backplane interconnect and an on-card optical cabling featuring FlexPlane technology. The demo will highlight how system vendors can utilize Molex optical cable management technologies to integrate COBO on-board optical modules into next-generation system architectures.

Ciena and SENKO will also highlight their latest COBO-related developments. The companies will show how low-profile face plate connector solutions can enhance the air flow capability and fiber management inside equipment, which will include the CS® Connector, a new high-density solution, MPO PLUS Bayonet, and µ-LC that can create more space inside the equipment. In addition, two white papers will be available. The first looks at Data Center Interconnect traffic growth and how this drives the need for increased electrical high-speed signaling, best in-class layout and selection of printed circuit board laminate, where analysis is made of different material properties in the context of COBO applications and verification is made of the compliance to OIF CEI-56G-VSR-PAM4. The second study performs a thermal assessment including the coherent application in context to verify thermal capabilities of the COBO module for 14.4Tb/s capacity 1RU line card.

A 112Gbps demonstration will be performed jointly by TE Connectivity and Credo via a test set-up that provides a feasibility demonstration for future COBO applications using 100Gbps electrical lanes based on TE Connectivity’s channel and high-speed connector driven by Credo Semiconductor transceiver silicon.

Finally, AOI will exhibit a 400G 16 lane on-board optics device that can achieve 2km reach at 1310nm wavelength. It leverages the COBO form factor, electrical pin out and electrical connector specifications released earlier this year. AOI is taking advantage of the SiP technology for this compact device which has a highly integrated design for an on-board optics module.

“Looking at industry trends and the rapid rate technology is advancing, these demonstrations represent the developments needed to ensure the full capabilities of emerging applications can be realized,” added Booth. “Significant progress has already been made in delivering next-generation networks, and these advancements help to ensure we can progress to even greater bandwidth technologies.”

Founded three years ago and made up of more than 75 members, COBO is developing the specifications for the next-generation of optical models, bringing together all of the ecosystem’s players including high-performance switch manufacturers, operators, sub-system builders, component makers, and system integrators.

The optical modules in COBO compliant form factor will be demonstrated at stand 608 at ECOC Exhibition 2018 which takes place at the Fiera Roma in Rome, from Monday, September 24 to Wednesday, September 26.

About COBO

The Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) is developing a series of specifications to promote the use of interchangeable board-mounted optical modules in networked equipment (i.e. switches, servers, etc.). The organization plans to reference industry specifications where possible and develop specifications where required with attention to electrical interfaces, pin-outs, connectors, thermals, etc. for the development of interchangeable and interoperable optical modules that can be mounted onto motherboards and daughter cards.

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