OFC 2018 concludes with technology innovation and market optimism. Lumentum and Oclaro surprised the market with their $1.8bn merger announcement. The financial community’s response was quickly positive. The larger, strengthened organization will deliver a fuller portfolio to market, diversify revenues, and reallocate more R&D and manufacturing muscle to the rapidly emerging 3D sensing market.
The programmable coherent DSP era took another step forward. Merchant DSP suppliers, vertically integrated system vendors, and system vendors with merchant DSP partners announced new solutions. And inside the data, the transition from 100G to 400G begins in earnest with a bounty of module, discrete, and semiconductor announcements.
At its heart, Lumentum's acquisition of Oclaro is intended to strengthen the new combined company by diversifying revenue streams across technologies and markets. The larger company will be able to bring more R&D firepower to bear and increase the pace of its R&D cadence. With a larger resource pool, Lumentum intends to support the telecom transport and transmission and datacom businesses, while ramping resources applied to the emerging and promising 3D sensing market. Lumentum sees a huge pipeline of 3D sensing opportunities and needs to rapidly redeploy design and fabrication resources to maximize its market position.
The programmable coherent DSP era is well underway with selectable modulation formats, FEC, and Baud rates that enable network operators to maximize the bandwidth for specific reach scenarios. The programmable 1.0 era began with 100G–200G, 8QAM–16QAM, and the programmable 2.0 includes 100G up to 600G, 64QAM, and ~64GBaud. The penultimate differentiator will be R&D performance, product execution and delivery, and cost per bit.
The current state of the art for data center intraconnect, up to 2km, is 100G, but that is not enough. The largest data center operators, the ICPs, want 400G. At OFC 2018, the industry stepped up with a multitude of announcements and demonstrations covering the breadth of the 400G ecosystems.
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