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New optical transceivers will reduce power consumption by 50% per GB/s in datacentres


The Horizon-2020-funded consortium TERIPHIC is developing new optical transceiver modules used in Internet datacentres that will reduce power consumption by 50% per GB/s and in turn see lower carbon emissions.

The scientists are using photonics to develop this low-emission 1.6TB/s-speed Internet. Using light to exchange data, the TERIPHIC group expects its new transceivers to solve problems faster and reduce queue times.

“Photonics is essential for the future of datacentres. TERIPHIC intends to develop low-cost terabit optical transceivers through the automation of current photonic integration concepts and processes in commercial assembly machines,” said Panos Groumas from the TERIPHIC project coordination team.

Shortening processing intervals for high-performance computing, edge computing and machine learning, the new ultra-high-capacity, low power consumption, pluggable modules are capable of both 800GB/s and 1.6TB/s.

Aiming to surpass current ‘gold’ standards of 400GB per second, TERIPHIC (or “TERabit optical transceivers based on InP EML arrays and a Polymer Host platform for optical InterConnects,”) expects its modules to cost €0.3 per gigabyte per second.

“We are developing mass production compatible 800GB/s pluggable modules with 8 lanes and 1.6TB/s mid-board modules with 16 lanes having at least 2km reach,” said Groumas.

The three-year, €5.6m TERIPHIC project will operate until December 2021 and has received a grant of €4.7m from the European Commission via the Photonics PPP.

“When the GB/s power consumption is reduced, data centres will consume less power, and given that they are powered by power plants relying on various fuel sources including coal, we will see a significant reduction in carbon emissions,” added Groumas.

The project is coordinated by the Photonics Communications Research Laboratory (PCRL) of the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS) at NTU Athens, Greece.

The consortium comprises five additional partners from four European countries, including Heinrich-Hertz Institute of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung der Angewandten Forschung, ficonTEC Service (Germany), III-V Lab (France), Mellanox Technologies (Israel) and Telecom Italia (Italy).

[Image credit: Jordan Harrison for Unsplash]

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