The OIF members, which include operators, internet content providers, equipment makers, and optical component and chip players, want components that work over a wide bandwidth, says Gass. This will allow the modulator and receiver to be optimised for the new higher baud rate.
“Perhaps I tune it [the modulator] for 40 Gbaud and it works very linearly there, but because of the trade-off I make, it doesn’t work very well anywhere else,” says Gass. “But I’m willing to make the trade-off to get to that speed.” Gass uses 40 Gbaud as an example only, stressing that much work is required before the OIF members choose the next baud rate.
“We want the two projects to look at those trade-offs and look at how we could build the particular components that could support higher individual channel rates”
The modulator and receiver optimisations will also be chosen independent of technology since lithium niobate, indium phosphide and silicon photonics are all used for coherent modulation.
The OIF has not detailed timescales but Gass says projects usually take 18 months to two years.
Meanwhile, the OIF has completed two projects, the specification outputs of which are referred to as implementation agreements (IAs).
One is for integrated dual polarisation micro-intradyne coherent receivers (micro-ICR) for the CFP2. At OFC 2015, several companies detailed first designs for coherent line side optics using the CFP2 module.