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As coherent technology has moved into datacom form factors, an obvious question must be answered: Does the higher performance offered by coherent optics offer a compelling use case inside the datacenter?

Until recently, no one would have seriously considered coherent optical technology relevant to connections inside a datacenter. Coherent optics were only available in large, card-based DWDM systems or perhaps as bulky CFP2 pluggables, neither of which would fit into a dense, switch-based datacenter. However, the discussion changed with the phenomenal success of 400G pluggables (400ZRx) introduced at the end of 2020 and designed to fit directly into a switch via the same QSFP-DD form factor used by datacom transceivers.

This Cignal AI report builds on Scott Wilkinson’s ECOC23 Market Focus presentation and incorporates additional information learned since last October.

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