Finisar OOM Software Initiative & Demonstration

Video: Finisar Leads Definition of PAM4 Optics Technology with OFC 2016 live demonstration

Being an Industry Visionary and Thought Leader…

Lightspeed Readers,

Today, we have exciting news to share regarding our very own Dr. Simon Poole, a true industry visionary and thought leader. Before we share the news, let’s summarize Simon’s illustrious career to date:

An outstanding researcher and entrepreneur for over 30 years in the field of photonics. His achievements cover both research as well as successful commercialisation of advanced technology on an international scale. He led the establishment of an export-competitive photonics industry in Australia, with significant contributions in R&D leadership, innovative commercialisation and capital raising. Simon’s achievements have been widely recognised including the Clunies Ross Award, the Pearcey Medal, and Engineers Australia NSW Division Entrepreneur of the Year and he was made a Fellow of the IEEE in 2001 for his contributions to the development of erbium-doped fiber amplifiers and fiber lasers.

Adding to these numerous accomplishments, we are pleased to announce Simon’s appointment as a Fellow of the prestigious Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In addition, he has been elected to the Board of Governors of the IEEE Photonics Society for a full term.

Congratulations, Simon. We are very proud of you and your ever-growing list of contributions.

Looking Back at ISC 2015 in Frankfurt

This blog post was authored by Sando Anoff, Finisar RSM.

Finisar was a participant at the recent ISC 2015 High Performance Conference and Tradeshow in Frankfurt, the premiere annual Supercomputing event in Europe. We set up a live demo of a 100 Gb/s Quadwire® active optical cable, which attracted a lot of attention. This product is based on our advanced in-house device technology and consists of four VCSELS operating at 25 Gb/s each on the transmit side and the corresponding PIN receivers on the receive side (all integrated in a single cable).

If you are a newcomer to the field of supercomputing, you might wonder what optical communication has to do with it, but the fact is that high-speed and low-latency communications have always been an essential part of high-performance computing designs, due to the huge amounts of information that need to be transmitted quickly and with a minimum of delay within the different parts of the system. For such demanding requirements, and except in cases where the distances covered are relatively short, optical transmission is the way to go. Another increasingly important factor, as the supercomputers get even larger, is power-efficiency, especially as the industry moves towards exa-scale computing. There were a whole range of interesting technologies on display at the show: IC’s placed in bubbling liquids, entire PCB’s submerged in barrels of fluid, etc. This trend towards energy efficiency may partly explain the considerable interest shown in our optical engines (Board-mount optical assemblies) that we had on display. These are compact, high-bandwidth optical interconnects that can be mounted directly onto a host board and reduce power consumption.

Something that really caught my eye as I wandered through the exhibition area was a booth that showed how a supercomputing infrastructure can be extended to encompass our globe. It allows an InfiniBand fabric – normally a short-range network used in supercomputers and data centers – to be securely extended via optical fiber over global distances. This was presented by a company called Obsidian Strategics and I was very pleasantly surprised when the friendly gentleman there pulled out the transceiver installed in his systems, and, lo and behold, it was from Finisar! That definitely made my day, not to mention the great conversation we had about sending huge chunks of data across transoceanic links at light speed!

So where do we go from here? The fastest supercomputer in existence today (Milky Way 2) is about 10 thousand million times faster than the first supercomputer that was built in 1964. I am certainly looking forward to the future as the industry pushes the envelope of what is possible.

Taking to the Fiber

This week’s blog post comes from Lightspeed featured author, Tony Pearson.

While I often write of my travels around the world as I visit partners, customers and friends in the optics industry, I don’t often stop to consider just how much easier it is to travel the globe now than it was 25 years ago when my optics journey began. Of course, the advances in travel and transport over the past 100 years are mind-boggling when you consider changes since the start of the twentieth century.

For example (note: these are my rough estimations, but you get the point), let’s say that public transport in 1908 was 99% foot traffic at approximately 4 mph, or at the cutting edge, the Ford Model T, which began mass production that year, had a top speed of about 40 mph – that provided a phenomenal 10x increase in speed. Today, many of us travel at 500 mph on flights around the world, enjoying a 10x speed increase over that first mass produced car.

Turn your attention now to data traffic.

It was about 30 years ago that Ethernet first found its way into Local Area Networks, seamlessly connecting our computers with an operating speed of 10 Mb/s over copper cable. Today, these data rates in “Computer Rooms” (or Data Centers as we now call them) have increased to 100 Gb/s – a 10,000x increase in speed!

Of course, there have been many contributing factors to this increase in speed, just as the combustion engine, the tire, the paved road and electronic traffic signals have aided the advancement in our global public transport network. In the communications networking world, advancements in Semiconductor IC technology, software and the Ethernet standard itself through Fast Gigabit, 10 Gigabit and most recently 100G Ethernet have helped us get where we are.

The real game changer in the last decade has been the medium used to connect ‘computers’ in these ever faster networks. Just as “taking to the air” led to a major step function in our ability to travel quickly over long distances around the globe, ‘taking to the fiber’ has had a major impact on our ability to transmit data at orders of magnitude higher speeds over global networks. This optical revolution has made it possible to move unfathomable quantities of data over short distances inside the data centers few of us have ever seen with our own eyes, yet whose existence we all depend on every time we send a tweet/text/email, search the web for information, or instantly stream a movie.

Finisar high-performance Active Optical Cables (AOCs) and optical transceivers, running at 10G, 40G and 100G data rates support the fastest HPC/supercomputers and largest data centers in the world. Leaping forward, there are new developments in optical engines (Board Mounted Optical Assemblies or BOA) and ever faster, smaller, lower power pluggable transceivers for 100G including CFP2, CFP4 and QSFP28. As you can plainly see, the race continues to satisfy the ever increasing thirst for more data with even faster processors, servers, software, and the fiber optic network that connects it all together.