Cisco pushes silicon photonics for agency, webscale networking

Cisco says it has closed its deal to buy optical-semiconductor firm Luxtera for $660 million, bringing the superior optical era customers will need for pace and throughput for future statistics-center and webscale networks.

When Cisco announced the deal in December, Rob Salvagno, Cisco vice president of Corporate Business Development, said, “As machine port potential will increase from 100GbE to 400GbE and beyond, optics performs a more and more important position in addressing network aggregate of Cisco’s and Luxtera’s skills in 100GbE/400GbE optics, silicon and method era will enable clients to construct destiny-evidence networks optimized for overall performance, reliability and price, Salvage said.

The motive Cisco snatched up Luxtera is its silicon photonics generation that moves records among computer chips optically, that’s ways quicker than modern-day electric switch, Cisco says. Photonics might be the underpinning of destiny switches and different networking devices.

One of the most appealing things approximately Luxtera is that it is properly down the road managing the issues around converting electronic information into photons and sporting them over fiber-optic cables directly into semiconductors, said Bill Gartner, VP and general manager with Cisco.

“Luxtera has the silicon photonics technology. This is the salvation for the optics industry,” Gartner said. “They have blended some of the improvement and manufacturing techniques from the semiconductor industry for the optical world, with a purpose to pressure optical fees down and yield up ultimately.”

“As we circulate from 400G to terabit speeds, it receives challenging to get all that capacity off a line card or ASIC, and you’ll need an exclusive optics architecture to address speeds like that. That’s where we anticipate technology from Luxtera to come back into play,” Gartner stated. “Optics is critical in how we improve the capability, and many others., of routers and switches and how silicon and optics combine could be a crucial step,” he stated. Luxtera says its patented generation blends the long-attain talents of unmarried-mode fiber with the low price of quite incorporated optoelectronics to create transceivers that have advanced excessive-speed optical communications.

Gartner said Cisco wishes to make certain it hits the right price points within the marketplace. While silicon-primarily based semiconductors have pushed port prices down, that hasn’t happened to the equal diploma with the optical generation. That’s because optics require more manually intensive assembly, Gartner said. “As we have a look at port speeds past 100G, it’s essential for Cisco to have proper technology in-residence, so we supply optics at a competitive port charge for the company, information center, big-scale net, or provider carriers,” he said. “We ought to have manage of that technology to compete within the optics food chain.

Jimmy Yu, vice president of the Dell’Oro Group, said that Luxtera became one of the first movers in developing small-form-thing pluggable components for 100G. This turned into completion through the organization’s paintings on silicon photonics (Sikh). “The market continues to call for gadgets that take up less footprint and cost much less to make. Sikh or photonic integration is one of the key enablers to gain this,” Yu said.

Earlier, due to suppliers taking too long to develop a smaller a hundred Gbps pluggable, Cisco offered LightWire. With that acquisition, Cisco became capable of selling a product known as CPAK that had a smaller footprint than the aspect marketplace may want to manufacture. The gain for Cisco became that it could produce higher port-density switches and routers at favorable charges, Yu stated.

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