Luxtera (Carlsbad, CA) has launched a single-chip optical transceiver that can be mounted directly on a computer motherboard; the aim is for the 10 Gbit/s per channel device to dip below the one dollar per Gbit/s barrier.
The OptoPHY family of printed circuit board (PCB) mountable optical transceivers combines electronics and optics on a single CMOS chip. Luxtera says that the new product line signifies the next step in optical-technology evolution--from pluggable modular solutions to chip-on-board solutions, with future optoelectronic system-on-a-chip integration.
Thinking inside the box
"10 Gbit/s is the new system interconnect 'currency,'" said Brad Smith, senior vice president analyst at LightCounting, LLC. "But the current generation of high-speed systems for switch/routers, supercomputers, telecom equipment, datacom and servers are built internally with 2.5G/5G SNAP12 technology developed in 1998--three years before the iPod! This requires four transmitter/receivers, at 2.5 W, costing $400+ each. Full duplex connections cost $1,600, burn 10 W power, a large board space. The market begs for a new solution. Optical technology, once relegated to the long haul and intersystem interconnects, now moves inside the box and is clearly heading for optics-on-a-chip."
OptoPHY is currently available in one and four channel, and next year in 12 channel configurations; the transceiver uses only 20 mW of power per Gbit/s.
Overcoming the 100 meter range barriers of legacy multimode fiber VCSEL optics, OptoPHY offers the longest reach for on-board optics, making it ideal for enterprise networking, InfiniBand, Storage, Ethernet, and backplane applications, says Luxtera.
(Who knows . . . maybe someday upper-end PCs--for example, in audio or video studios, or for gaming--could be tied together via OptoPHY for moving data at 10 Gbit/s speeds.)