At the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) in Rome, Intel unveiled specifics on new silicon photonics products that are optimized to accelerate the movement of massive amounts of data being generated by new 5G use cases and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The latest 100G silicon photonics transceivers, which integrate the laser into silicon, are optimized to meet the bandwidth requirements of next-generation communications infrastructure while withstanding harsh environmental conditions.
Intel's 100G silicon photonics solutions are offering fast, reliable and cost-effective connectivity. The industry's move to 5G, along with a ramp in existing network traffic such as video streaming, is straining existing communications infrastructure that must support an expanded spectrum range including mmWaves, massive MIMO and network densification. Intel's latest 100G silicon photonics transceivers meet the bandwidth demands of 5G wireless fronthaul applications. These transceivers are designed to meet the harsh outdoor conditions of cellular towers with the capability to support optical transport to the nearest baseband unit or central office (up to 10 km). This will enable wireless carriers to take advantage of already existing fiber optic networks put in place with 4G with a boost to 100Gbps speeds in order to handle the oncoming onslaught of 5G traffic.
Intel's integrated laser into silicon approach makes its silicon photonics transceivers suitable for mass production and deployment as 5G infrastructure ramps. Samples of Intel's silicon photonics transceivers targeting 5G wireless infrastructure are available now. Production start for the new silicon photonics wireless modules is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019.
Since introducing its first 100G silicon photonics product in 2016, Intel has ramped production and is shipping its 100G data center products at a run rate of more than a million units per year. Earlier this year, Intel demonstrated its 400G silicon photonics capabilities. Samples of its 400G silicon photonics products are expected to be available next quarter with volume shipment of 400G modules slated for the second half of 2019.