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New era of transceivers: 400G and beyond

This week’s live panel in the scope of our ongoing TEST Talks series was about the furiously fast world of Ethernet speeds and transceivers.


Faisal Dada, Principal Architect and Director in the Wired and Wireless Group at Xilinx, David J. Rodgers, Events Chair at Ethernet Alliance and Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Teledyne LeCroy and Leo Lin, EXFO Director for R&D and Component Vendors, were the speakers. This live panel was moderated by EXFO high speed expert Jean-Marie Vilain.

David kicked off the discussion with an overview of Ethernet Alliance and its role in facilitating multi-vendor interoperability testing and assurance while providing thought leadership and global interactions relating to evolving Ethernet standards. David recapped how Ethernet serves telecom technologies across the board. Leo touched on the now-established trend for 400G optical transceivers and how 800G is growing. For Leo, the requirements in the race for higher speeds still revolve around smaller transceiver form factor, lower power for optical components and lower cost. The key to winning is in meeting these three challenges at the same time. Faisal addressed the issue at the component level and talked about innovations in this domain to enable 400G+ transceivers and scalability features to support various rate formats. Faisal also touched on FlexE and OTN applications in a world of ever-changing line system speeds.

Interesting discussions were held on the importance of design for testing (DFT) from the onset to enable industry stakeholders in meeting evolving standards and interoperability requirements of today’s complex network ecosystems. The capacity to perform standardized and repeatable testing will be vital for deployments when it comes to the timely resolution of issues through root cause identification, remediation and validation. At the transceiver level, the industry is in need of more modular, future-proof test solutions to accommodate the diversity of form factors. The panel broached the topics of PAM4 analysis and FEC validation requirements for R&D and production before taking questions from the audience.

After the live panel, attendees were able to join in-depth technical sessions with subject matter experts. The following hot topics were on the menu:

  • 800G PAM4 signal testing (In-depth)
  • Overcoming E2E testing challenges
  • Speed migration to data centers: VSFF optics and breakout cables
  • Coherent optics: standards and compliance

You can still join the conversation by registering for the upcoming TEST Talks. The next one tackles 5G challenges from R&D to field deployment.