800G OSFP Optical Transceivers: Evolution and Innovation

NADDOD Claire Optical Module Engineer May 21, 2024

With continuous advancements in cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence, the demand for higher bandwidth and processing capabilities in data centers is ever-increasing. The 800G OSFP optical transceiver emerges as a crucial solution, enabling faster and more efficient data transmission that powers everything from real-time AI analytics to seamless video streaming in our daily lives. This article will delve into the evolution of 800G OSFP optical transceivers, exploring their development paths, advancements in related technologies, and their transformative impact on modern network infrastructures.


Evolution of 800G OSFP Optical Transceivers

The development of 800G OSFP optical transceivers can be traced through two primary technological paths: the EML route and the Silicon Photonics route.


Path 1: EML Route

The 800G DR8 OSFP optical transceiver utilizes eight 100G EML lasers, leveraging EML Route technology. This transceiver module offers substantial bandwidth and transmission capacity to meet the future demands of data center interconnections. Despite higher costs, its maturity and stability make it a reliable choice for high-performance environments.


EML, or Electro-absorption Modulated Laser, combines the functions of a laser and an electro-absorption modulator. By applying voltage to the semiconductor material, it modulates the amplitude and phase of the laser light, achieving high-speed optical modulation. EML lasers are widely used in fiber-optic communications, optical imaging, and optical sensing due to their high speed, efficiency, and low noise.


As photonic integrated circuit technology advances, the EML route is expected to further optimize and reduce costs. Long-term predictions indicate that prices may align with those of 400G optical transceiver modules.



Path 2: Silicon Photonics Route

Silicon photonics is an advanced optical technology based on silicon chips that integrates optics and electronics for high-speed data transmission and communication. This innovative approach is critical for the ongoing evolution of 800G optical transceivers. Here are some key points about the 800G silicon photonics optical transceivers:


  • Dual-Laser Driver Scheme: The 800G silicon photonics module typically employs a dual-laser driver scheme, leveraging the current 400G DR4  This approach utilizes mature silicon photonics technology to meet short-distance transmission needs efficiently.


  • Linear Drive Pluggable Optics (LPO) Technology: LPO technology is a promising solution that uses linear analog components in the data link, eliminating the need for complex CDR or DSP designs. Compared to DSP solutions, LPO reduces power consumption and latency, making it an ideal choice for AI computing centers requiring short-distance, high-bandwidth, low-power, and low-latency data connections.


  • Packaging Forms: The 800G silicon photonics modules can adopt different packaging forms, such as 800G QSFP-DD and 800G OSFP, suited for various applications.


Looking ahead, development will shift towards single-laser driver strategies using thin-film lithium niobate modulators to minimize optical path loss. Single-laser solutions in silicon photonics are expected to further reduce the cost of 800G DR8 silicon photonics modules. However, the dual-laser strategy remains a primary approach in the silicon photonics field.


800G 2xFR4 OSFP Evolution Path

The 800G 2xFR4 OSFP configuration leverages two sets of 4-wavelength CWDM 100G EML lasers, with each set containing four lasers. Combined with silicon photonics, it integrates four chips to achieve a total throughput of 800Gb/s. In practice, silicon photonics solutions have not yet achieved a cost advantage, and few manufacturers have conducted extensive research on these solutions, leading EML solutions to remain mainstream.


NADDOD's 800G 2xFR4 OSFP transceivers feature Broadcom's 7nm DSP chips and 53G EML lasers, providing high-speed, low-power, stable data transmission in 800G links. These transceivers facilitate seamless transitions from 800G to 2x400G, delivering higher bandwidth for hyperscale data centers and cloud infrastructure. They are widely used in 800G Ethernet, data centers, and cloud networks.


Future development will likely lean towards FR4 configurations using four 200G EML lasers operating at CWDM wavelengths. This approach is more cost-effective and supports longer transmission distances without requiring expensive integrators. Another evolutionary path is the 800G SR8, which uses eight VCSEL lasers. Overall, the future of 800G 2xFR4 OSFP is poised to evolve towards both FR4 and SR8 directions, offering flexible and scalable solutions to meet the growing demands of high-performance networking environments.


800G SR8 OSFP Evolution Path

The 800G OSFP SR8 module utilizes eight VCSEL lasers with a transmission range of 50 meters. NADDOD, a leading global manufacturer of optical transceivers, integrates dual Broadcom chips—both Broadcom VCSEL and Broadcom DSP technologies—into its 800G OSFP SR8 modules, ensuring exceptional performance and stability.


The Broadcom VCSEL emits light vertically, facilitating efficient short-range data transmission, ideal for high-density environments. The Broadcom DSP drives eight lanes of 106-Gb/s PAM-4 at 53 Gbaud, leveraging advanced equalization techniques to compensate for optical impairments while maintaining low power consumption. This integration supports superior data transmission rates and ensures compliance with IEEE standards and MSA specifications.


Primarily used for short-distance transmissions ranging from 10G to 40G and up to 100 meters, the 800G OSFP SR8 transceiver has more constrained application scenarios compared to the 400G SR8. As the single-channel rate of VCSEL lasers increases, transmission distances decrease.


In the short term, the market share of VCSEL lasers in 1.6T optical modules is expected to decrease to provide cost-effective solutions.



From CPO to LPO

In the dynamic environment of data centers, speed and efficiency are paramount, making the dominance in optical interconnections critical. CPO (Co-Packaged Optics) and LPO (Linear Drive Pluggable Optics) emerge as powerful technologies redefining data center optical interconnections. The following discusses CPO and LPO in detail, with the future of 800G transceivers aiming for higher bandwidth, longer distances, and lower costs. CPO and LPO are two prominent solutions to achieve these goals.


CPO (Co-Packaged Optics)

CPO works by tightly integrating optical modules and switch ASICs to minimize signal conversion and transmission distances. This reduction lowers power consumption, improves signal integrity, reduces latency, and minimizes overall space usage.


In traditional setups, optical modules and switch ASICs are separate and connected via copper cables or fibers, often leading to significant power consumption and signal loss during high-speed data transmission.


CPO addresses these issues by integrating optical modules and switch ASICs, reducing signal conversion distances, and enabling more efficient, stable, and faster data transmission. CPO enhances network performance and reliability by integrating optical modules and ASICs.


LPO (Linear Drive Pluggable Optics)

LPO simplifies optical transceiver design by eliminating the need for Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) and other complex digital processing components, relying entirely on linear analog elements for signal transmission.


In traditional optical transceivers, DSPs handle tasks such as signal modulation, demodulation, encoding, decoding, and signal compensation. However, DSP components add power consumption, complexity, and cost. LPO replaces DSPs with linear analog elements capable of high linearity and equalization, performing signal regeneration and digital signal compensation without DSPs.


Using LPO, signal processing tasks initially handled by DSPs are distributed among network device ASICs, drivers, and TIAs, simplifying transceiver design, reducing power consumption, and enhancing signal integrity, thereby reducing latency and improving overall performance.


Overall, LPO simplifies optical transceiver design by eliminating DSPs and relying on linear analog elements for signal transmission, improving performance, reducing power consumption, and decreasing complexity.



Final Thoughts

NADDOD's 800G OSFP optical transceivers represent the latest advancements in optical communication technology, designed to meet the ultra-high-speed and stability demands of data centers and high-performance computing networks. Key features of NADDOD's 800G OSFP optical transceivers include:


  • Packaging Type: The 800G OSFP (Octal Small Form-factor Pluggable) is a mainstream packaging form, slightly larger and more power-consuming than the 800G QSFP-DD (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable Double Density).


  • Technical Specifications: NADDOD's 800G OSFP optical transceivers use 100G PAM4 modulation technology, combining 4x100Gx2 and 8x100G architectures to meet short-distance transmission needs. These modules typically include eight transmitters (Tx) and eight receivers (Rx), with a single-channel rate of 100Gbps, requiring 16 fibers.


  • Transmission Distance: The 800G OSFP 2*FR4 optical module is an upgrade of the 400G FR4, containing four wavelengths (1271/1291/1311/1331nm) through Mux to reduce the number of fibers to four. Its optical interface uses dual CS or dual duplex LC interfaces. The transmission distance can reach up to 2km, with power consumption less than 16W.


  • Application Scenarios: NADDOD's 800G OSFP optical transceivers are suitable for data centers and high-density expansion needs, supporting IEE802.3ck and QSFP-DD 800 MSA standards, as well as CMIS4.0 interface protocols. Built-in digital diagnostic functions meet EMI and ESD requirements.


NADDOD's 800G OSFP optical transceivers, with their high speed, stability, and reliability, are set to become a critical component of future network connectivity, offering users the ability to experience ultra-high-speed network capabilities.


In conclusion, the evolution of 800G OSFP optical transceivers marks a significant milestone in high-speed networking technology. With their unparalleled performance, scalability, and versatility, these transceivers are poised to revolutionize data transmission in modern data centers and pave the way for next-generation network infrastructure. Ready to transform your data center infrastructure and stay ahead of the curve? Visit NADDOD's website, talk to our experts, and explore the potential of 800G transceivers.