This report assesses silicon photonics technology based on a balanced view of the technical issues, applications, and supplier base. It describes the chip interconnect, board interconnect, active optical cable, and 100G transceiver market needs. The technology and strategy of 11 leading companies are critiqued.
Developers say they are addressing both the on-board/in-package interconnect and pluggable transceiver modules markets, but two markets are not better than one: responsibility, requirements, and status are made murky. The dichotomy already drives subtly different versions of silicon photonics, and we believe designs will diverge further.
Market requirements at 100G are indeed transformational: they are forcing the industry to become open to new approaches. Silicon photonics is but one of the avenues being explored for integrated devices and new materials. The oft-cited drivers for silicon photonics also support competing directions.
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