OIF Unveils OFC Interoperability Demo Plans

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) today released the slate of public demonstrations that it will conduct at OFC in Anaheim, March 22-24, 2016. The demo will showcase multi-vendor interoperability of two key technologies; Pluggable Coherent Optics and 56G Electrical Interfaces.  These technologies will cover a range of channel reaches from Very Short Reach (VSR) to Long Reach (LR) and includes using both NRZ and PAM4 modulation formats. Live CFP2-ACO pluggable coherent optics, based on the recently announced OIF implementation agreement, and attendant test equipment are also part of the display. The demonstrations will be conducted in the OIF Booth #3619. In addition to the live demonstration, OIF industry experts will conduct two panel discussions at OFC on Tuesday, March 22.

“The OIF will be extremely busy at OFC this year,” said Steve Sekel of Keysight Technologies and the OIF Physical & Link Layer Interoperability Working Group Chair. “This is a very ambitious interoperability demo and we have a large slate of thought leaders speaking during the conference. In addition, the OIF’s industry leadership at OFC will conduct a public workshop on 100G Serial Electrical Links.”

The technologies on display during the live interoperability demonstration include CFP2-ACO Optical Modules, Coherent DSPs and Compliance Boards.  Also included will be CEI-56G silicon for PAM4 and NRZ demonstrated in VSR NRZ and PAM4 channels, medium reach NRZ and PAM4 cable channels and a long reach PAM4 backplane channel. Participating companies include Amphenol, Anritsu, ClariPhy, Credo, Fujitsu Optical Components, Inphi, Keysight Technologies, Molex, MultiLane, TE Connectivity, Tektronix and Yamaichi Electronics.

OIF Panel Discussions at OFC

CEI-56G – Signal Integrity to the Forefront
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 – 10:30am-11:30am – Expo Theater II (Hall B)
Moderator: Nathan Tracy, TE Connectivity, OIF Technical Committee Chair
Panelists: Tom Palkert, Molex and OIF Physical & Link Layer Working Group Vice Chair – Electrical; Steve Sekel, Keysight Technologies, OIF Physical & Link Layer Interoperability Working Group Chair; Dave Stauffer, Kandou Bus, OIF Physical & Link Layer Working Group Chair

Transport SDN – Getting Down to Business

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 – 2:45pm-3:45pm – Expo Theater III, (Hall A)
Moderator: Dave Brown, Nokia, OIF Vice President – Marketing
Panelists: Lyndon Ong, Ciena, OIF MA&E Committee Co-Chair – Networking; Jonathan Sadler, Coriant, OIF Technical Committee Vice Chair; Vishnu Shukla, Verizon, OIF Carrier Working Group Chair

OIF Workshop on 100G Serial Electrical Links

The OIF will host a public workshop addressing the latest developments in 100G Serial, immediately following OFC 2016 in Anaheim, California. The event, OIF Workshop – 100G Serial Electrical Links and Beyond, is open to the public and scheduled for Thursday, March 24, 2016, from 12:30 pm to 6:15 pm at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. The workshop will feature subject matter experts from the OIF and will include an industry view presented by Dale Murray, Principal Analyst at LightCounting Market Research.

Registration fee includes a one-hour cocktail reception. For details including registration information, please click HERE.

OIF PLL Interoperability Demo 2016

OIF member companies will demonstrate multi-vendor interoperability of Pluggable Coherent Optics and 56G Electrical Interfaces in live, operating environments. The OIF’s Physical and Link Layer Working Group demonstrations include live 56G electrical interface interoperability over a range of channel reaches from VSR to LR and a range of modulations including NRZ and PAM4. The expanding ecosystem will be showcased through live demos. 56G and coherent optics test equipment will also be demonstrated. Public demonstrations will be on display March 22-24, 2016 at OFC in Anaheim, CA in OIF Booth #3619. Additional information can be found at


About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at


OIF demonstrates 50 Gbps signals using two modulations

Martin Rowe -March 30, 2015

Last week at OFC 2015, the OIF (Optical Internetworking Forum) demonstrated two 50 Gbps transmissions using both PAM4 and NRZ formats. Over the past year, PAM4 has emerged as what appears to be the modulation format of choice for many systems, although NRZ will still have its place.

PAM4, the topic of the Jitter Panel at DesignCon 2015, looks to become the modulation format for LR (long reach) and MR (medium reach) optical links. In particular, PAM4 looks to take over from NRZ for electrical links that lead up to an optical module and across backplanes. For XSR (extra-short reach) applications, NRZ is likely to live on in applications where signal-to-noise ratio is important such as within an optical module or in memory buses. The two videos below show demonstrations from the OIF booth.

In the first video, Scott Sommers of Molex shows a 50 Gbps PAM4 signal traveling over a 0.54 m Molex backplane. The signal is generated by an (AWG) arbitrary waveform generator from Keysight Technologies. The demo uses the AWG because silicon to generate the PAM4 signal isn’t yet available.

Silicon that can generate a 56 Gbps data stream using NRZ is available, and Jeff Twombly of Credo Semiconductor demonstrated it in the OIF booth. In this demonstration, a Credo 56G NRZ SerDes drove three demonstrations: a CEI-56G-VSR-NRZ channel, a CEI-56G-MR/LR-NRZ backplane and a CEI-56G-MR-NRZ passive copper cable. The video shows the signal passing through a 1 m length of copper cable.

OIF shows 56G electrical interfaces & CFP2-ACO

Gazettayte, Roy Rubenstein
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) is using the OFC exhibition taking place in Los Angeles this week to showcase the first electrical interfaces running at 56 Gigabit. Coherent optics in a CFP2 pluggable module is also being demonstrated.

“The most important thing for everyone is power consumption on the line card”

The OIF – an industry organisation comprising communications service providers, internet content providers, system vendors and component companies – is developing the next common electrical interface (CEI) specifications. The OIF is also continuing to advance fixed and pluggable optical module specifications for coherent transmission including the pluggable CFP2 (CFP2-ACO).

“These are major milestones that the [demonstration] efforts are even taking place,” says Nathan Tracy, a technologist at TE Connectivity and the OIF technical committee chair.

Tracy stresses that the CEI-56G specifications and the CFP2-ACO remain works in progress. “They are not completed documents, and what the demonstrations are not showing are compliance and interoperability,” he says.

Five CEI-56G specifications are under development, such as platform backplanes and links between a chip and an optical engine on a line card (see Table below).

Moving from the current 28 Gig electrical interface specifications to 56 Gig promises to double the interface capacity and cut electrical interface widths by half. “If we were going to do 400 Gigabit with 25 Gig channels, we would need 16 channels,” says Tracy. “If we can do 50 Gig, we can get it down to eight channels.”  Such a development will enable chassis to carry more traffic and help address the continual demand for more bandwidth, he says.

But doubling the data rate is challenging. “As we double the rate, the electrical loss or attenuation of the signal travelling across a printed circuit board is significantly impacted,” says Tracy. “So now our reaches have to get a lot shorter, or the silicon that sends and receives has to improve to significant higher levels.”

One of the biggest challenges in system design is thermal management

Moreover, chip designers must ensure that the power consumption of their silicon do not rise. “We have to be careful as to what the market will tolerate, as one of the biggest challenges in system design is thermal management,” says Tracy. “We can’t just do what it takes to get to 56 Gigabit.”

To this aim, the OIF is pursuing two parallel tracks: using 56 Gigabit non-return-to-zero (NRZ) signalling and 4-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM-4) which encodes two bits per symbol such that a 28 Gbaud signalling rate can be used. The 56 Gig NRZ uses simpler signalling but must deal with the higher associated loss, while PAM-4 does not suffer the same loss as it is similar to existing CEI-28 channels used today but requires a more complex design.

“Some [of the five CEI-56G specifications] use NRZ, some PAM-4 and some both,” says Tracy. The OIF will not say when it will complete the CEI-56G specifications. However, the projects are making similar progress while the OIF is increasing its interactions with other industry standards groups to shorten the overall timeline.


Source: OIF, Gazettabyte

Two of the CEI-56G specifications cover much shorter distances: the Extra Short Reach (XSR) and Ultra Short Reach (USR). According to the OIF, in the past it was unclear that the industry would benefit from interoperability for such short reaches.

“What is different at 56 Gig is that architectures are fundamentally being changed: higher data rates, industry demand for higher levels of performance, and changing fabrication technologies,” says Tracy. Such fabrication technologies include 3D packaging and multi-chip modules (MCMs) where silicon dies from different chip vendors may be connected within the module.

The XSR interface is designed to enable higher aggregate bandwidth on a line card which is becoming limited by the number of pluggable modules that can be fitted on the platform’s face plate. Density can be increased by using mid-board optics (an optical engine) placed closer to a chip. Here, fibre from the optical engine is fed to the front plate increasing the overall interface capacity.

The USR interface is to support stackable ICs and MCMs.

All are coming together in this pre-competitive stage to define the specifications, yet, at the same time, we are all fierce competitors

“The most important thing for everyone is power consumption on the line card,” says Tracy. “If you define these very short reach interfaces in such a way that these chips do not need as much power, then we have helped to enable the next generation of line card.”

The live demonstrations at OFC include a CEI-56G-VSR-NRZ channel, a CEI-56G-VSR-PAM QSFP compliance board, CEI-56G-MR/LR-PAM and CEI-56G-MR/LR-NRZ backplanes, and a CEI-56G-MR-NRZ passive copper cable.

The demonstrations reflects what OIF members are willing to show, as some companies prefer to keep their work private. “All are coming together in this pre-competitive stage to define the specifications, yet, at the same time, we are all fierce competitors,” says Tracy.


Also on display is working CFP2 analogue coherent optics (CFP2-ACO). The significance of coherent optics in a pluggable CFP2 is the promise of higher-density line cards. The CFP is a much bigger module and at most four can be fitted on a line card, while with the smaller CFP2, with its lower power consumption, up to eight modules are possible.

Using the CFP2-ACO, the coherent DSP-ASIC is external to the CFP2 module. Much work has been done to ensure that the electrical interface can support the analogue signalling between the CFP2 optics and the on-board DSP-ASIC, says Tracy.

At OFC, several companies have unveiled their CFP2-ACO products including Finisar, Fujitsu Optical Components, Oclaro and NEC, while Clariphy has announced a single-board reference design that includes its CL20010 DSP-ASIC and a CFP2-ACO slot.