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Demand for 40/100G connectivity continues to grow. This demand is driven by many trends, including the growth in mobile networking, high-speed consumer broadband, a shift to cloud computing and increasing data center consolidation. 40/100G line cards are being added to systems across the network from data centers to enterprise and metro networks and long-haul service provider transport.

The completion of the 40/100GE specifications in 2010 and agreement within the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) to adopt DP-QPSK with coherent receiver for 100G long-haul applications has given the industry new momentum. After several years talking about the benefits of 100G connectivity and discussing the technical implementations, the industry is now finding huge opportunities to deliver new systems using standardized solutions.

Cloud computing, video, remote storage and other bandwidth-intensive services are driving demand for higher-speed connectivity. Data center and enterprise network managers must replace existing 10G links with 100G links to meet user expectations and business needs. Carriers are upgrading transport links to 100G, or more, as suitable solutions become available. To meet these needs, equipment providers are developing new systems with 40/100G interfaces that cover distances from a few meters to several hundred kilometers.

There are already cost-effective solutions for the data center and enterprise network using 4x10G QSFP+ and 12x10G CXP active optical cables. For longer distances in the enterprise and long-haul applications a single fiber approach is required. The CFP form factor provides a suitable solution over a single fiber, but it is significantly more expensive. Some implementations integrate 10G optics with 10 transmit/receive channels and an optical multiplexor. To continue reducing system cost vendors need to deliver on a cost-effective road map from 10x10G to 4x25G and eventually 100G serial.

NEME for QSFP+/CXP optical modules and active optical cables, delivering more cost-effective 40G and 100G solutions for data center and enterprise networks.

CXP and QSFP+ modules promise significantly higher density for networking systems with highly integrated components. NEME developing CXP and QSFP+ modules for introduction in 2014. The demand for pluggable modules for metro applications is driving significant investment in this area with options for direct detect or coherent and further options on where to place the coherent DSP.