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Empowering Service Providers: Accelerating ZR/ZR+ Coherent Pluggable adoption using HiWire P3

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The optical networking industry is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the emergence of versatile coherent pluggable modules.

These modules, initially tailored for inter-data center connections among large hyperscalers using OIF 100G/400G ZR standards, continue to find new applications. The fact that the modules plug directly into switches and routers has eliminated the need for a separate optical transport layer.

The adoption of 400G Open ZR+ has further extended the reach of these applications, thanks to advanced error correction and dispersion compensation techniques. This evolution not only empowers hyperscalers, but also opens up lucrative opportunities for service providers, enabling them to leverage these enhanced “plus” version modules in various network environments, including cloud, urban, and regional networks.

ZR/ZR+ Success with Hyperscalers: A Paradigm Shift
Hyperscalers are looking to leverage ZR/ZR+ coherent pluggable modules to reap the benefits of seamless data transmission, reduce power consumption, lower costs, and gain a smaller footprint. One key strength of ZR/ZR+ modules lay in their interoperability which enables seamless integration into existing infrastructure. All of this makes them highly attractive for both hyperscalers and service providers.

Challenges with Deploying ZR/ZR+ for Service Providers
Despite the myriad of benefits, service providers face many challenges and obstacles while considering 400G and upcoming 800G rollouts with ZR+ coherent optics in their CIN, IP edge, aggregation, and backbone networks. Challenges include:

  • Replacement Cost: Upgrading existing infrastructure to accommodate 100G fibers can incur significant costs, posing a barrier to adoption.
  •  Power and Cooling: Existing routers at the edge may require upgrades to handle the power and cooling requirements of ZR/ZR+ modules effectively.
  •  Interoperability and OS Support: Ensuring compatibility with various network operating systems (NOS) can be a complex and time-consuming process.
  • Operational Planning: Operational boundaries between operation teams for transport router’s. They use different tools and have different skill sets.
  • Proprietary Feature Support: Desire for rapid deployment with proprietary features to maximize bandwidth/distance.
  • Time to Market: Lack of feature velocity as part of the network operating system to support new and extended features for coherent.

Introducing HiWire P3: A Game-Changing Solution
To address these challenges head-on, Credo unveiled the HiWire Pluggable Patch Panel (P3) during the OCP ‘23 Show. This innovative solution empowers both service providers and hyperscalers by decoupling pluggable optics from core switching and routing hardware, using Credo’s HiWire Active Electrical Cables (AECs). This offers the flexibility to choose whichever coherent optics they would like to use in their system, allowing them to support 400G and 800G optics.

At its core, HiWire P3 is a simple media conversion box at L1, providing an electrical trace between the pairs of QSFP-DD ports. Ports are powered and cooled within the system and can be accessed using I2C-bus and use low level CMIS interface API. This model supports 32 QSFP-DD ports, 16 of them supporting up to 25W of power designed to support up to 800G ZR+ modules, while the other 16 can support up to 15W for AEC cables.

The flexibility and scalability the HiWire P3 offers, empowers organizations to choose coherent optics tailored to their specific needs, supporting both 400G and 800G optics seamlessly. Some of the features enabled by HiWire P3 are:

  • Full Port Utilization: HiWire P3 enables the full utilization of ports, optimizing network capacity and efficiency.
  • Gear-boxing via AEC Connections: Supports gear-boxing via AEC connections between network elements and P3, enhancing connectivity and performance.
  • Coherent Power/Cooling Offloading: By offloading coherent power and cooling requirements, HiWire P3 streamlines infrastructure management.
  • Open Access to Coherents: HiWire P3 offers open access to coherent modules independent of NOS, ensuring flexibility and compatibility.

With the introduction of HiWire P3, service providers and hyperscalers alike can overcome the challenges associated with deploying ZR/ZR+ modules, unlock their full potential and enjoy benefits including: 

  • Flexibility: Supporting both 400G and 800G optics, HiWire P3 offers unmatched flexibility, enabling organizations to future-proof their networks and adapt to evolving demands.
  • Scalability: With support for up to 32 QSFP-DD ports, HiWire P3 provides ample room for expansion, ensuring scalability and growth.
  • Simplicity: HiWire P3 streamlines the deployment process, simplifying power and cooling management, and eliminating the need for costly infrastructure upgrades.
  • Interoperability: By supporting a wide range of coherent optics and offering compatibility with leading network operating systems, HiWire P3 ensures seamless interoperability and hassle-free integration.

As the optical networking landscape continues to evolve, solutions like HiWire P3 are paving the way for a new era of connectivity. By empowering service providers to embrace coherent pluggable technologies with confidence, Credo is driving innovation and propelling the industry forward. The future of networking is here, and it's brighter than ever, thanks to HiWire P3.

Learn how Credo HiWire P3 enables service providers and hyperscalers the freedom to decouple pluggable optics from core switching and routing hardware using Credo’s HiWire Active Electrical Cables (AECs).

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