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100G Optical Transceivers Are So Popular in 5G Fronthaul

Today we are going to talk about a segmentation closely related to the 5G theme – 100G optical transceivers. Recently, there has been a new landmark theme, which is „100G optical transceiver“, what are the reasons?

What Are 100G Optical Transceivers?

1. The first explain is that the 100G „G“ refers to the optical signal transmission rate of units, rather than the 5G „G“ (Generation, 5th generation mobile communications).

2. Optical transceiver is one of optical devices to achieve high-speed conversion between optical signals. It includes the optical receiver, optical transmitter, laser, detector and other functional modules.

3. According to the packaging types (CFP / XFP / SFP / QSFP, etc.), the transmission rate (155Mbps ~ 200Gbps), optical link (CWDM / DWDM / PSM), mode (Single-mode / Multi-mode), Plug-in/out mode (Fixed / Hot-pluggable) and other categories, optical transceivers have various kinds of categories. If considering the operating temperature range, whether the number of self-diagnostic functions and performance classification elements, optical transceiver categories are more.

4. The basic structure of an optical transceiver includes a laser (TOSA) + driving circuit, a detector (ROSA) + receiving circuit, a multiplexer (MUX), a demultiplexer (DEMUX), an interface, an auxiliary circuit and a housing.

5. Driven by technological upgrading and cost reduction, the optical transceiver continues to be „high speed, miniaturization and integration.“ 100G optical transceivers use 25G laser chip technology. According to the different packaging methods, 100G optical transceivers are CFP / CFP2 / CFP4, CXP and QSFP28. QSFP28 is a new generation of 100G optical transceiver packaging, and has now become the mainstream packaging of optical transceivers.

6. 100G optical transceivers have different models and standards. Generally speaking, the transmission rate of optical signals is much higher than that of low-rate 10G and 25G products. Now they have become the star products in large-scale data centers and telecom markets.

Why Are 100G Optical Transceivers So Popular?

1. From the Market Segmentation Point of View

 The optical transceiver market can be subdivided into Telecom, Datacom and Access markets. Access market generally use 10G and below the low-speed optical transceiver. North American data center market is undergoing 40G to 100G upgrading, the current high-speed optical transceiver is the main growth point. After 5G construction started, the telecommunications market for high-speed optical transceiver demand will be larger than the data center market.

2. The Relationship between Optical Transceivers and 5G

With the evolution of 5G technology, based on the requirement of higher base station density, there will be greater new demand and market space for high-rate optical transceivers. At present, LTE base stations of 4G mainly use 10G optical transceivers, and 25G / 100G optical transceivers are the preferred solutions of the front 5G optical transmission modules in the future.

(1) At present, the market demand for digital communications is growing rapidly: the demand for high-end optical transceivers in Internet data centers is accelerating, especially in overseas digital communications markets. In the data center server and switch, a large number of connections are using optical communication technology; data center network has become the driving force for the growth of optical transceivers. With the construction of large-scale data centers and the outbreak of traffic, the demand for optical transceivers in the data center has been shifted from 10G / 25G to 40G / 100G and 100G has become the mainstream since 2017. 

(2) The rapid increase of optical transceiver industry profit in 2016 was mainly due to the sharp increase in the demand for 100G optical transceiver in North American cloud computing center. The demand for optical transceiver increased sharply, and 100G optical transceiver in the market was in short supply. It is estimated that the global 100G optical transceiver shipments in 2017 will reach 200-300 million.

(3) Telecommunication Network Market (Three Major Carrier Capital Expenditure Items): Optical communication is the cornerstone of 5G and the demand of 5G for high-rate optical transceivers increases. At present, LTE base stations of 4G mainly use 10G optical transceivers, and 25G / 100G optical transceivers are the preferred solutions of the 5G fronthaul optical transceivers in the future.

Each base station needs 12 25G / 100G optical transceivers: one base station has one BBU and connects to three RRUs, and each BBU uses three pairs of six optical transceivers, each pair uses two pairs of RRUs, for a total of 12 optical transceivers. Theoretically, due to the characteristics such as high frequency, high density and high connection of 5G, the domestic future needs to build nearly 10 million base stations, that is, the demand of hundreds of millions of optical transceivers, and the number of base stations in North America is 10 million, The demand for high-speed optical transceivers brought by 5G construction will be even greater. At present, there are many kinds of mature 100G optical transceivers in the market, like 100G QSFP28 CWDM4, 100G QSFP28 PSM4 and 100G CFP / CFP2 / CFP4 optical modules provided by Gigalight. They cover the mainstream form factors: CFP / CFP2 / CFP4 / QSFP28 and can be used for a variety of optical network bearer demand.

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