Adva: 400G will really hit its stride in 2021

Digital Binary Monitors (Image: iStockPhoto)
Adva says that it expects 400G to be adopted over the course of several years with the initial focus being on data center interconnection providers. (Image: iStockPhoto)

SAN DIEGO – Adva is excited about 400G, but the German vendor is taking a pragmatic view on how quickly it will be adopted by its growing base of service provider and enterprise customers.

The vendor has been seeing some early trials and adoption by data center providers of its FSP 3000 CloudConnect data center interconnect platform to enable 400-Gbps optical transmission, but the real deployments will begin to ramp in 2021.

Niall Robinson, VP of global business development for Adva, told FierceTelecom that outside of customers that have bleeding edge needs, 400G will be a multi-year, not an immediate transition.

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Niall Robinson

“We’re starting to see the first real implementations of 400G, but it’s going to be a while before all that takes over from 100G,” Robinson said. “The 100G roll outs are just taking over 10G and there still a lot of customers running 10G or peering at 10G around the world.”

Robinson added that “we’re looking at 2019 to start and 2020 and 2021 where you really hit the stride at that point.”

An evolving ecosystem

After conducting demonstrations and trials, the ecosystem of components and systems supporting 400G has started to emerge.

Adva and optical component vendors like Broadcom aren’t staying ahead of future 400G demands.

For its own part, Adva is supporting the 400G movement with its TeraFlex platform, which is optimized to support 400G.

Broadcom recently released two new chipsets that will support 400G, for example. Targeting hyperscale data center applications, the company released its BCM81724 400G gearbox device. It also introduced Jericho2, which supports high-density industry standard 400GbE, 200GbE, and 100GbE interfaces.

“Both of Broadcom’s products are driving 400G interfaces,” Robinson said. “As those come out, they will get put into boxes pretty quickly and that will start to drive 400G network interfaces by the end of the year.”

Besides Broadcom, there are several silicon vendors supporting the new Quad Form Factor Pluggable Double Density (QSFP-DD) module specification and cage/connector system.

QSFP-DD is a new module and cage/connector system, which is like current QSFP, but with an additional row of contacts providing for an eight-lane electrical interface. The QSFP-DD module specification is being developed by the QSFP-DD MSA as a key part of the industry’s effort to enable high-speed solutions. To date, 62 companies including Cisco, Molex, Juniper and others have come to support of the QSFP-DD MSA.

“On the show floor at OFC, I think you’re going to see at least a couple of companies or more on the component side showing 400G QSFP-DD,” Robinson said. “It’s a little like there were technology demos last year and now this year it will be product demos.”

Robinson added that “it’s the ecosystem that build towards the back end of this year for the first 400G deployments.”

Data centers will be early movers

While broad adoption of 400G will take time, the early adopters of 400G will be in the data center interconnection (DCI) space.

Led by a host of players including Equinix, Cologix, and Digital Realty, DCI is important as it provides access to multiple ISPs, which is important if a business or carrier customer is selling globally.

Adva’s solution can support 600G per wavelength. On two wavelengths, Adva's solution can carry three 400G clients.

Robinson said he expects companies in the DCI space will gravitate initially towards 400G.

“The DCI market is an example of an area that can take advantage of that box,” Robinson said. “It’s not the only application space, but I think the first to really to have an application for that kind of density will be the DCI space.”

Adva is hardly alone. Ciena and Infinera are also developing platforms that are targeting DCI and other applications like cable fiber deep.