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After years of anticipation, 400G pluggable digital coherent optics (DCO) will finally achieve general availability and initial deployment in 2021. And while the online OFC lacked what would have undoubtedly been a show floor frenzy of 400G DCO demonstrations, tests, and vendor presentations, 400ZR/ZR+ still dominated the Zoom-based proceedings even as the industry looks ahead to 800ZR and co-packaged optics. Key takeaways include:

  • Multiple vendors announced anticipated module availability.
  • Interoperability of 400ZR+ emerges as a key point of interest (and debate).
  • Module vendors were eager to tout performance and power claims.
  • Uncertainty dominates the metro aggregation / IPoDWDM use case.
  • 400G CFP2-DCO’s will find wide adoption in transport platforms.
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