Spirent sees 800G market heating up

An executive from test and assurance company Spirent highlighted a ramp in interest around 800G solution testing in recent months, as the company announced the successful validation of Intel Silicon Photonics’ 800G optical transceiver.

Asim Rasheed, senior product manager at Spirent, told Fierce that “compared to earlier this year, right now there’s definitely a marked increase in interest in 800-gig.” He added conversations around the technology are mostly happening in the North America and EMEA regions (primarily Europe), but noted the Asia Pacific region is “going to come in on its heels very fast.”

While 400G is still working its way into production networks, Rasheed noted the pandemic put massive pressure on data centers which had to adapt to carrying traffic normally handled by enterprises’ on-site compute and networking resources. He said all eyes are now turning to 800G to meet the heightened demand, noting the industry by and large appears to be skipping over 600G.

“At least from our customers we have not seen 600-gig,” he said, adding “in general the industry is just starting to get into deploying 400-gig and the next logical step for them would be to double that…The value is not there for the industry to move one-and-a-half times. Two times usually provides a better value.”

He said a lot of companies are already testing 800G solutions, but there’s room for that figure to grow substantially. “Usually the companies who are working at the bleeding edge are not small companies because we are talking hardware and it takes a lot of investment,” he explained. “Once the technology gets mature, you’ll see a lot more players jump in.”

RELATED: Spirent validates 800G link with InnoLight

Though Rasheed noted not all companies publicly disclose their testing, Intel Silicon Photonics became the latest to do so, following an announcement from Innolight in April.

In a video demonstrating its 800G DR8 OSFP transceiver, Intel Silicon Photonics' Senior Director of Strategic Marketing Scott Schube said the product is based on the same technology as its currently shipping products and "is designed to provide 8x100 gigabit Ethernet, 2x400 gigabit Ethernet or 800 gigabit Ethernet high-speed optical connectivity."

"This next generation higher speed networking equipment represents the next infrastructure upgrade for data centers to support the continued expansion of online applications and services," he said. Its 800G optical modules are "sampling now," with its 2x400 FR4 OSFB modules targeted to sample "by the end of this year," Schube added.