Optical Filter Solutions for Datacom

As data storage and computing resources move into the cloud, the demand on data centers (DC) for storage and data transfer capacity has increased dramatically. Key factors driving higher capacity data center interconnect (DCI) bandwidth include:

  • Gigabit Ethernet: growth of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GE), 25 GE and 40 GE network adapters
  • Cloud IT: One request → multiple data exchanges between servers in one DC (and between DCs)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Less local computing → more transactions in the cloud/DC
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Devices sending/receiving data into the cloud
  • New storage technology: enhances the attractiveness of cloud storage
  • Continuous data availability and mobility: Distributes virtual computing/storage resources across many physical devices

Optical interconnect bandwidth enhancements using single-mode fiber (SMF), multimode fiber (MMF), coherent digital optical transmission, wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), multiple spatial modes, increased data rates, and other techniques will all come into use as each of the optical datacenter interconnects start to require data transfer rates approaching and exceeding those of the long haul fiber connections.

Iridian Spectral Technologies, Ltd. has designed and manufactured optical filter solutions for long haul and metro access fiber-optic telecom customers for nearly two decades. Iridian is now applying the same proven thin film filter technology to address the growing needs for Datacom optical filtering providing wavelength selectivity to DCI devices such as transceivers and tunable laser assemblies (TLA).

Datacom filter solutions are now available to address these needs:

  • Wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) in transceivers
    • separating or combining multiple (typically four) different wavelengths onto a single device
    • WDM regions covered include:
      • O-band (1260-1360nm)
      • C-band (1530-1565nm)
      • L-band (1565-1625nm)
  • Broad bandpass filters to transmit the entire O, C, or L-band
  • Silicon (Si) Etalons for TLA
    • providing controlled free-spectral range (FSR), finesse, and tunability to enable selection of specific wavelength peaks
  • All filters are robust and reliable capable of passing Telcordia 1221 environmental testing

Datacom filters often have similar optical functionality and requirements as traditional telecom filters however the optical design, filter size and thickness may be customized to meet the unique requirements of these ultra-compact products. As always, maintaining the optical performance required at the lowest possible cost in a robust and reliable format is critical.

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