Global insights into the co-packaged optics technology platform

By Martin Vallo, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group for EETIMESThe value of optics and ASIC co-packaging for data centers could reach US$2B in 2032 if the technical challenges are solved.

Over the past 50 years, mobile technology innovations have been rolled out in waves each decade. Mobile bandwidth requirements have evolved from voice calls and texting to ultra-high–definition (UHD) video and a variety of augmented-reality/virtual-reality (AR/VR) applications, and online services have driven massive increases in data traffic. Despite the profound implications of the Covid-19 outbreak for the telecom infrastructure supply chain, consumers and business users worldwide continue to create new demand for networking and cloud services.

Social networking, business meetings, video streaming in UHD, e-commerce, and gaming applications will continue to drive growth. With the advent of new digital devices packing increased capabilities and intelligence, Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group, has observed higher device adoption rates every year. The bandwidth for connected cars, automated logistics, and manufacturing facilities, including AR/VR, is much higher than for current UHD streaming applications.

Current form factors of pluggable optics are expected to be limited in their ability to support capacities of 1.6 Tb/s, 3.2 Tb/s, and higher in terms of the required electrical and optical densities, thermal issues, and power consumption. As a result of discrete electrical device implementation, power dissipation and thermal management are becoming limiting factors for future pluggable optics.

Co-packaged optics (CPO) is a new approach that aims to overcome these challenges by bringing the optics closer to the switch ASIC. CPO technology is considered a new deployment model for the whole ecosystem and an alternative to the well-established pluggable optics. Once it achieves commercial status, CPO may dominate in specific applications, though this doesn’t necessarily mean that pluggable optics will disappear.

Revenue generated by the CPO market reached about US$6 million in 2020 and is expected to reach US$2.2 billion in 2032, for a 65% compound annual growth rate in the 2020–2032 period.1 This growth will be driven by CPO’s substantial energy savings (>30%) and capital expenditure savings, measured in dollars/Gbps, over pluggable optics… Full article