100G Single Lambda is an optical specification with PAM4 signaling (four-tier pulse modulation) to transmit the 100G data stream over a single laser/wavelength. It is first standardized by the 100G Lambda MSA (Multisource Agreement), which is an industrial consortium with a common focus to provide a new set of optical interface specifications. These specifications are developed around an optical channel data rate of 100Gb/s, with the aim of using 100G and 400G applications at a lower cost. On September 20, 2018, the 100G Lambda MSA Group announced that membership in the MSA has grown from the original 22 promoters to 16 additional contributors. MSA has developed 100G and 400G optical specifications that use 100G on the same wavelength to reduce costs. As suppliers begin to realize the growing advantage and momentum in the 100G per lambda market, companies are joining the MSA. “The rapid stakeholder convergence and technical agreement underscore the industry`s significant efforts and demand to bring this technology to market as quickly as possible,” said Mark Nowell, MSA Co-Chair. Then comes the 100G lambda transceiver to simplify the optical structure of the modules and improve efficiency. The 100G transceivers are 100GBASE-DR, 100GBASE-FR (100G-FR) and 100GBASE-LR (100G-LR). These transceivers take the host`s 4x25G electrical signal and use a DSP to translate the signal into a PAM4 modulation instead of using NRZ signals such as for LR4, CWDM4 or PSM4.
Using the PAM4 signal on the same wavelength means that the full 100G data stream is transferred using a single laser without WDM fiber or parallel fiber, reducing the number of optical components such as the transmitter and receiver from 4 to 1. The 100GBASE-DR is indicated for 500m connections. Later, the 100G Lambda MSA extended its range to 2 km with 100GBASE-FR, allowing for longer connections or higher loss environments. So far, the MSA has extended its range to 10 km with 10GBASE-LR, thus addressing the same applications as 100GBASE-LR4. As the PAM4 modulation has allowed 100G to one lane, the transition from 100G to 4x 100G becomes a reality. For example, IEEE used 100GBASE-DR for the 400GBASE-DR4 optical standard. The DR400GBASE-DR4 could break into four parallel DRBASE 100Gbase modules and provide 400G connectivity over 500m. With 100G single Lambda Transceivers, the 100G breakout connections of a 400G port are simple. For more information about the 100G Lambda MSA group or downloading updated specifications, visit the MSA www.100glambda.com website.
This MSA is open to all interested parties who wish to join. Companies are invited to participate in the consortium. The new 100G Single Lambda standard not only reduces the complexity of the optical components inside the modules, but also the cost of 100G connections. According to the IEEE, the ability to support 100G per lambda (wavelength) could reduce the cost of a 100 GE optical signal with a single optical track by at least 40%. This means that switching from 4 wavelengths/lambda to a wavelength/lambda results in a relative cost reduction of more than 40%. The appearance of 100G Single Lambda is no coincidence. Most optical transponders such as 100GBASE-LR4, 100G-CWDM4, 100G-PSM4 and 100GBASE-SR4 today, operating with 100Gb/s, consist of four sets of transmitters and receivers operating on parallel 25Gb/s tracks. These four optical signals are either coupled by parallel fibers or visually to a single fiber for multiple transport, requiring a variety of expensive optical components and packaging.
In order to reduce total costs and improve transmission efficiency, a single Lambda 100G transceiver specification has been proposed. Transponders using this specification use 100G PAM4 signaling per 100G per wavelength, reducing optical complexity and costs by reducing the number of optical transmitters and receivers from 4 to 1. Members of the 100G Lambda MSA Group are Alibaba, Applied OptoElectronics, Arista, Broadcom, Ciena, Cisco, Color Chip, Credo, Delta, Finisar, Foxconn Interconnect Technologies, Fujitsu Optical Components, HiSense, Huawei, IDT, Inphi, Intel, Juniper Networks, Kaiam, Keys Technologies, Lumentum, Luxtera