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Cisco unveils silicon transciever for 100 G

Tue, 03/19/2013 - 2:43pm
Brian Santo

Cisco announced the new 100 gigabits per second (100 G) transceiver technology it has been talking about to for months.

Cisco’s CPAK transceiver is built integrating chips created with commonly used CMOS silicon fabrication technology. The contrast is with the approach called CFP, which is being pursued by many of Cisco’s competitors.

Cisco says that CPAK reduces space and power requirements by over 70 percent compared with CFP.

Cisco's CPAK transceivers will initially be available with its ONS 15454 MSTP 100 G coherent transponder. Future routing and switching line cards will also incorporate CPAK technology, which is implemented along with Cisco's nLight approach. Cisco describes nLight as a multi-layer control plane architecture designed to enable agility and programmability for IP and optical networks.

Increasing traffic on network backbones already makes 100 G rates useful, but the enabling technology for 100 G transmission remains expensive. Cisco’s approach aims to reduce those costs.

Cisco expects to be able to reduce size and power requirements for transceivers in much the same way size and power requirements are being cut in most silicon ICs – by riding the integration curve of the same silicon technology – CMOS. CPAK transceivers are based on chips in smaller die sizes than CFP thus far, and draw as little as one-third the power, depending on the version of CFP (7.5 watts for CPAK, 24W for CFP2).

"Cisco's CMOS design allows us to utilize the immense and highly evolved CMOS IC fabrication industry, which delivers low-cost, highly integrated and reliable components," said Bill Gartner, vice president and general manager of Cisco's High End Routing and Optical business unit. "We see this as a critical differentiator to reduce the power, cost and size of components, and it will help make 100 gigabit as widely deployed as 10 gigabit is today. No other industry solution offers as much opportunity to reduce 100 gigabit deployment costs as the Cisco CPAK."

Cisco's first line card to incorporate CPAK technology is the 100Gbps CPAK Coherent DWDM line card, compatible with the ONS 15454 MSTP platform. The card uses Cisco's 100GE IEEE standards-based LR4, SR10 and ER4 CPAK pluggables on the client interface and Cisco's proven ultra long-haul coherent technology on the network facing (trunk) interface.

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