Doing More with Less: 5 Trends to Watch in 2018

As we look forward to the new year, doing more with less continues to be a driving force behind innovation and technology gains. Companies and end users are demanding more speed, more capabilities, and more technology…all with less equipment. As a result of this, and the continued demand for more bandwidth, we’re seeing the following trends emerge in the  optical transceiver space. Integra Optics is always working toward new products that align with emerging trends to help its customers harness more with less. Here are 5 trends in the fiber optics industry to watch in 2018.

Low Speed Transceivers One of the biggest trends to expect in 2018, which has already begun, is the phase out of low speed transceivers in the core of networks and in datacenters, to move toward higher speed transceivers and better service. We will see a major shift from 10G and under to 40G and higher, including 100G.

Continued Growth and Use of QSFP28Similarly, we are seeing the increased use of QSFP28 as a standard. The industry will continue to grow the QSFP28 product and push the limits of its versatility. This will include testing different laser options to help build more advanced technology in the smaller, more dense form factor, allowing companies to fit more optics on a line card. Testing the QSFP28 transceivers with higher speed lasers, higher performance receivers, and copper interfaces opens the door to a more cost-effective solution. New developments with QSFP28 technology in 2018 will pave the way for the 200G+ evolution, such as QSFP Double Density (QSFP-DD) technology.

Form Factor Consolidation

As with any growing technology, it is only a matter of time until one format outlasts the rest. As we saw with HD Optical Disc technology over the past few years, Blu Ray became the new standard for DVD technology over HD-DVD. The same seems to be happening with form factors.  As 100G optics evolve, multiple standards have been released over the past several years, due to requirements related to port density and power. As of 2017, QSFP28, CFP2, CFP4, and CFP are all considered 100G standards introduced to the market.

In an effort to streamline efficiencies, major vendors have aimed to consolidate the number of form factors they will support in their hardware. As a result, industry trends indicate that QSFP28 will be the dominant form factor for most applications in the near future because of its density and versatility. However, it is yet to be determined if there will be an alternate form factor chosen for specialized applications.

Next Gen PON Services

Next generation PON services (NG-PON) will begin to replace legacy PON networks utilizing multiple wave WDM technologies, significantly increasing available bandwidth to FTTx customers. These technologies will operate on highly specialized optics that require both tunable lasers and a sophisticated passive network. These new PON technologies are a major shift in fiber access technology since the initial rollout of GPON services. 

The evolution of remote PHY

In 2018, cable companies will continue to develop fiber deep infrastructures in conjunction with Remote PHY technologies. This migration has a significant impact on the laser technologies that are deployed in CATV (Cable TV) distribution, as transport that previously used analog lasers will now use Ethernet backhaul. This migration will also significantly impact deployment costs, enabling the use of standardized transceivers, rather than proprietary and/or high cost lasers. In addition, Remote PHY will allow for greater flexibility in current and future network designs through the use of the vast number of standardized transceiver variants currently available in today’s marketplace.

Get a first look at what products we’re introducing in 2018.