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The wild success of 400ZR has led network operators to consider new architectures based on pluggable coherent modules and has inspired suppliers to think of ways to expand the pluggable coherent market. The OIF is working on standards that go higher in speed (800ZR), while some vendors, access equipment manufacturers, and network operators are looking closely at lower speeds for access and edge applications. Those lower-speed modules, although not standardized at the moment, are collected under the moniker 100ZR.

To date, 100ZR pluggable coherent modules have been announced by Acacia, Coherent/ADVA, Marvell/Innolight, and Marvell/OE Solutions. CableLabs specified a 100Gbps coherent interface for the access network in 2021. More such solutions are expected to be announced this year, starting at OFC next month. Clearly, the industry sees demand for these products.

Cignal AI has opined extensively on the promise of 100ZR for the last two years in anticipation of this technology’s arrival. In our original statements concerning 100ZR, we said that large-scale deployment will happen when 100ZR is price-competitive with 10Gbps DWDM in the access. Otherwise, the scale of the 100ZR market would be limited to Enterprise-type applications that are less cost-sensitive. Now it is time to re-evaluate our position and adjust the 100ZR forecast based on the latest information.

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Cignal AI has spoken with the component suppliers often over the last few months to understand their motivations and expectations. For this report, Cignal AI spoke with vendors building the equipment at the edge of the network that will be used to deploy 100ZR in the access – the largest potential market for 100ZR. We’d especially like to acknowledge ADTRAN, Nokia, Cisco, Ribbon, Calix, DZS, and Ciena for their contributions to this report.

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