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ECOC was in Glasgow, Scotland this year, and it was as well-executed as last year, but not quite as well attended. While there were few breakthrough announcements at ECOC this year, the show built upon and enhanced the earlier OFC and CIOE themes.

The question Cignal AI is most often asked at shows is “So, what’s the interesting stuff you’ve seen?” – here’s a quick take:

Report Summary

  • The most impressive demo was 800ZR test boards and modules from Marvell and its partners Coherent and Lumentum.
  • Linear drive pluggable optics (LPO) was a hot topic, although it was our impression that, while optimism ruled public discussion, skepticism was widely expressed in private. There was more agreement than disagreement with our recent report on the matter (see the Active Insight The Linear Drive Market Opportunity). No one is more confident about LPO than the companies who view this as another opportunity to bid for business at hyperscale operators they don’t currently have.
  • Also impressive was the comprehensive engineering effort by Eoptolink to demonstrate products that covered 100G and 200G per lane solutions, both retimed and linear. The company’s actions show that if you have the engineering resources and capital, rather than pick the winning technology, just do all the things and let the market decide.
  • The OIF coordinated 400ZR+ and OpenROADM interoperability testing despite the organization not being directly involved in those industry agreements. We heard new updates and broader support for 100ZR.
  • 200G/per lane silicon/PMD/optics development continues, and it is on track to enable 1.6T optics by the end of CY24.
  • System vendors had a more significant presence at the show, particularly Ciena and Infinera, which both pursue pluggable optics strategies. Cignal AI’s IPoDWDM report was a hot topic in client meetings (see the Active Insight  Assessing the Impact of IP-over-DWDM).

The second most common question asked of us at events like ECOC is, “Can I get your slides?” We are happy to oblige with Scott Wilkinson’s Market Focus presentation available here, although his in-person delivery at the event added much more than is apparent with the slide deck. Feel free to contact him for more color.

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The OIF work standardizing a Gen120C pluggable optical module – aka 800ZR – culminated in demonstrations of the first DSP and 800ZR modules at ECOC. Marvell’s Orion DSP, announced in August, appeared in the Marvell ColorZ 800 OSFP module, a module in the Lumentum booth, and a technology demonstration in the Coherent booth. Marvell is replicating its successful 400ZR strategy, in which the company provides DSPs to a variety of module vendors while focusing its own module strategy on one specific market – high-speed datacenter interconnect. This has resulted in Marvell occasionally competing against its own customers, who distinguish their offerings from the Marvell products by providing different form factors (e.g., CFP2) or optical front ends (e.g., 0dBm output power or InP optical engines) or by targeting different markets (e.g., China).

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