November 19, 2015
Author Stephen Hardy
Editorial Director and Associate Publisher
Members of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will pair their work in software-defined networking (SDN) with their efforts in coherent optical transmission. The group has decided to create a Flex Coherent DWDM Transmission framework through which operators and systems houses can support software-programmable coherent transmission via a variety of modulation formats.
The OIF notes that the industry is moving away from a sole reliance on dual-polarization quadrature phase-shift keying (DP-QPSK) for coherent transmission. While that format dominated the first generation of 100-Gbps line-side optics, interest has grown in supporting greater data rates, from 150 to 400 Gbps and beyond, via different modulation formats. These include 8QAM and 16QAM for long-haul and metro applications, and 32QAM and 64QAM for data center interconnect (although there have been demonstrations of these higher QAM formats for general high-capacity networking as well; see “Putting flexible transmission rates to the test”).
A number of systems houses tout the ability to switch between multiple modulation formats, with some using such terms as “FlexCoherent” and “Flexi-Rate” to describe the functionality. However, the OIF has decided the industry would benefit from a more coordinated effort to provide this flexibility within an SDN context.
“We’ve discussed the hardware implications of SDN for a couple years now,” explained OIF board member Junjie Li of China Telecom. “We need to move away from fixed performance transceivers in order to provide service providers with a flexible solution, complete with software â€˜knobs’ that can be dialed-in to achieve the desired performance.”
The OIF says the new effort will leverage its work with tunable lasers, high-bandwidth PMQ modulated transmitters, and integrated coherent receivers.
Meanwhile, the OIF also announced the results of recent leadership elections. Peter Landon, BTI Systems, is now chair of the Networking & Operations Working Group committee for a 2-year term. Newly elected to the Board of Directors are Ian Betty of Ciena for a 2-year term, Tom Issenhuth of Microsoft for a 2-year term, and Mike Tessaro of Qorvo for a 1-year term. China Telecom’s Li was re-elected to the board for a 1-year term. John McDonough of NEC America will serve as president. Dave Brown of Alcatel-Lucent will continue as vice president of marketing and Dave Stauffer of Kandou Bus will remain secretary/treasurer.