Cisco's Acacia debuts 1.2 terabit multi-haul pluggable

Cisco subsidiary Acacia marked a major milestone with the debut of its new Coherent Interconnect Module 8 (CIM 8), unveiling a multi-haul pluggable capable of delivering 1.2 terabit capacity on a single wavelength.

Tom Williams, Acacia’s director of marketing, told Fierce the company’s coherent interfaces have historically fallen into two categories: multi-haul modules, which are focused on maximizing performance, and pluggables designed to target specific form factors and power windows. Advances in power efficiency have allowed those two worlds to collide for the first time, he said.

“Traditionally those multi-haul modules have been embedded, so the fact that we’re bringing the pluggable model to that is what is unique,” Williams said. “We didn’t start with this design by saying it has to be pluggable. We kind of went through the design and got to a point where we felt confident enough in the power to say, ‘look, we could do that as a pluggable’. And a pluggable operating model is always preferred when you can support it.”

The module is based on Acacia’s 5nm Jannu digital signal processor (DSP), which is packaged alongside the company’s silicon photonics, photonics integrated circuit, driver and transimpedance amplifier using its 3D Siliconization technology. When you put it all together, the CIM 8 is “designed to enable network operators to double their transmission capacity over even greater reaches,” the company said in a blog.

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Acacia unveiled an AC1200 module in 2019 which also boasted 1.2T capabilities for multi-haul use cases, but Williams noted that solution was only capable of supporting 600G per wavelength (though the module enabled two wavelengths to be managed as a single channel). By contrast, the Jannu-powered CIM 8 pluggable can provide the full 1.2T capacity over a single wavelength, he said. It is capable of serving use cases including edge applications, metro, high-capacity data center interconnect and submarine systems.

“The idea here is that traffic is migrating to 400-gig and with this architecture…we’re able to do three 400-gigs for the edge applications that are the highest capacity,” he explained. Williams added the module can support an 800G line rate over 90% of the network and 400G for “the most challenging links.”

Williams said Acacia’s earlier Pico DSP which served as the foundation for its AC1200 family of products was adopted by four out of the top five hyperscalers and has been “widely deployed” by carriers as well. He added a lot of those customers are expected to make the leap to its new Jannu-powered offering.

In terms of availability, Williams said Acacia is currently testing prototype hardware and expects module level integration testing with customers will occur in mid-2022. Full general availability is expected some time in 2023.