Although 400G coherent pluggable optical devices have attracted widespread attention in the industry in 2021, the most advanced technology in current commercial systems is 800G coherent optical devices based on 7nm 90+ Gbaud digital signal processing (DSP). Compared with 400G pluggable, the current 800G coherent optical devices are all embedded in the circuit board, and the future development goal is the pluggable option.
As of the fourth quarter of 2021, two system suppliers have been able to provide 800G commercial products, and more and more operators have deployed systems with 800G capabilities in their networks. In the survey, 12% of communication service providers (CSP) reported that they have deployed 800G or plan to deploy before the end of the year.
In the next two years, the application prospects of 800G are promising, because 41% of the interviewed CSPs are expected to deploy within that time period. But still one-third of CSPs (33%) are expected to adopt coherent 800G in 2024 or later. Early adoption is biased towards the US market. Almost all US operators will deploy 800G systems in 2021, and they will continue to be the region with the strongest market performance until 2023.
Although 800G is determined as the "headline" data rate, 800G can also achieve multiple combinations of data rate, modulation format, and coverage. More importantly, compared with previous generations, each generation of DSP can provide greater coverage at any data rate. Therefore, 800G coherent optical devices can be used not only in metropolitan area network transmission scenarios, but also in long-distance or even submarine network transmission scenarios, running at data rates lower than 600G.
Past research on optical networks has shown that compared with other selection criteria (including performance and cost), the priority of selecting existing suppliers is usually lower. In addition, in coherent optical systems, the high complexity and high cost of building optical devices are causing more suppliers to withdraw from this market, and only a few DWDM suppliers commercialize embedded 800G. Fortunately, for CSP, the continuous evolution of open optical networks will help to introduce more different suppliers.