Microsemi enables Terabit OTN switching cards for flexible optical networks

Microsemi Corporation, a provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, announced DIGI-G5, the newest member of its award-winning DIGI franchise, enabling packet optical transport platforms to triple in capacity while slashing power consumption by 50% per port.

Fortifying Microsemi as the Optical Transport Network (OTN) processor market leader, the new DIGI-G5 delivers an unprecedented 1.2 terabits per second (Tbps) of combined OTN and client interfaces and is first to market with newly standardised 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GE), 50GE, 200GE, 400GE, Flexible OTN (FlexO) and Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) with integrated security engine enabling flexible encrypted optical connections.

Cloud workloads, mobile data and video streaming will drive a near doubling of network bandwidth by 2021 according to the “Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast.” Transporting Ethernet, storage, intellectual property (IP)/ multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and 4G/5G Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI)/eCPRI services over 100G OTN switched connections has proven to be the most fiber, power and cost-efficient deployment solution for moving bits in today’s metro and long-haul networks.

Andrew Schmitt

To meet the anticipated bandwidth growth of the hyper-connected world, network operators are looking to 200G, 400G and new rate-agile FlexO connections to scale up their networks.

In response to this continued growth, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to scale from today’s 400G line cards and deliver 1 terabit of capacity or more with denser ports of greater than 100G rates. OEMs will also require a device like Microsemi’s new DIGI-G5 to leverage DIGI field-hardened OTN software stack and deliver their leading systems with faster time to market.

“China Mobile operates one of the world’s largest OTN switched networks,” said Li Han, deputy director of the Network Technology Research Institute, China Mobile Communications Co., Ltd. “To meet bandwidth needs as we enter the 5G and cloud era, our metro network must scale by leveraging new higher speed OTN rates while reducing both cost and power per bit. Microsemi’s DIGI-G5 platform will enable our suppliers to build higher capacity scalable systems to support our long-term network expansion needs.”

DIGI-G5 enables OTN 3.0, beyond 100G era

The industry continues to invest in evolving OTN to meet the needs of a hyperconnected world powered by cloud workloads.

  • OTN 1.0 was based on 10G point-to-point wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) connectivity.
  • OTN 2.0 is today’s mainstream 100G optical connections built on OTN switching.
  • OTN 3.0 enables new 25GE, 50GE, 200GE, 400GE and FlexE) interfaces to be transported over new 400G OTN, OTUCn, and FlexO switched connections.

DIGI-G5 provides a quantum leap in bandwidth capacity, delivers the breadth of new OTN 3.0 interfaces and integrates Microsemi’s second generation CrypOTN security engine to enable flexible encrypted optical connections.

“Our DIGI OTN processor portfolio has been instrumental in transforming service provider networks to mass deploy 100G OTN switched networks,” said Babak Samimi, vice president and business unit manager for Microsemi’s Communications Business Unit. “Our DIGI-G5 breaks new ground by enabling the industry’s transition to new OTN 3.0 architectures at terabit scalability by delivering three times the port density while lowering power consumption by 50% per port.”

Field-hardened OTN software stack accelerates time to market

Microsemi’s field-proven and carrier-qualified DIGI OTN Switching Software Development Kit (SDK) provides an application-driven hardware abstraction layer (HAL) that simplifies data path setup to a handful of application program interface (API) calls, accelerating development cycles of OEMs.

DIGI-G5’s on-board ARM® processor enables Tbps application performance by offloading the host central processing unit (CPU) from complex and time-critical operations such as data path provisioning, protection switching and overhead management. With DIGI-G5, OEMs can scale their software performance as demanded by a software-defined networking (SDN) controlled network architecture.

Microsemi’s OTN processor offers a number of differentiating features, including:

  • Total interface bandwidth of up to 1.2Tbps
  • Comprehensive Ethernet support: 10GE, 25GE, 50GE, 100GE, 200GE, 400GE and the new OIF FlexE specification
  • New OTN 3.0 rates, enabling flexible (FlexO) and fractional 100G+ (OTUCn, OTUCn-m) transmission
  • 56G PAM-4 Serialiser/Deserialiser (SerDes) allows direct connection to QSFP-DD, OSFP and coherent digital signal processors (DSPs)
  • Integrated packet test set enables remote troubleshooting and debug, driving down capital and operating expenditures
  • Integrated security engine enabling end-to-end AES-256 based encryption and authentication
  • Integrated G.HAO bandwidth-on-demand processing for OTN switching networks
  • Innovative DIGI-Mesh-Connect architecture which enables compact, pay-as-you-grow OTN switching at lowest cost and power by eliminating the need for a centralised switch fabric device.

Market research firm Cignal AI expects the market for OTN-based optical transport equipment to approach $14 billion (€11.34 billion) in 2021, with 100G joined by 400G representing the vast majority of deployed capacity. Advanced packet-OTN switching equipment represents one of the fastest growing segments of the optical market and is at the core of the large metro WDM deployments pursued by carriers such as Verizon, China Mobile and Telefonica. Cignal AI expects revenue for this segment of the optical market to grow at a 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2021.

Babak Samimi

“While 100G is prevalent in both metro and long-haul networks today, next-generation packet optical transport must scale beyond 100G and include features that eliminate excess margin and quickly deliver bandwidth when and where it is needed,” said Andrew Schmitt, lead analyst with Cignal AI. “With the DIGI-G5, Microsemi continues a long history of delivering market-leading OTN chipsets that are at the foundation of OTN transport and switching networks.”

On top of multi-service OTN processors and Carrier Ethernet/OTN PHYs, Microsemi also offers OTN timing translators, secure field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and PCIe switches. These are critical for the development of OTN transport equipment, OTN switching equipment and data center interconnects using OTN.

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