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Optical modules, drivers, and DSP push data through networks

optical modules drivers and dsp push data through networks

EE World visited Effect Photonics’ Massachusetts office for a video look at how its optical communications products adapt to changing conditions in telecom and data networks.

Maynard, Mass. — Data from 5G fronthaul through core networks and datacenters move quickest when transported over optical fibers. Effect Photonics, a company based in the Netherlands, recently opened its U.S. office and engineering lab here. In the video, Harry Graber explains the company’s coherent optical modules, driver ICs, and the DSP behind it all.

Graber highlights a 5G optical fronthaul application using tunable coherent optics that can connect a radio unit with a baseband unit. In this application, the optical modules include the DSP needed to perform tuning. The optical module’s receivers provide telemetry data that includes received optical power, module power consumption, and temperature. These data can inform the transmitter of conditions from which it can make adjustments that optimize data rates and minimize overall power consumption.

Following our discussion, we visit the lab where Graber demonstrates software that reports on conditions such as temperature. He uses an open and closed box to demonstrate temperature differences and the telemetry from a receiver.

Following Graber, engineer Rou Li demonstrates how the optical modules compensate for conditions by way of the telemetry between a transmitter and receiver when one of two links breaks. You’ll see, through an optical spectrum analyzer, how the connection adapts by changing wavelength to optimize the transmissions for maximum data rate. It relies on data from the receiver to find the optimum wavelength.

The video opens with a tour of the complex where Effect Photonics office is located. It’s called “Mill and Main” having once been a woolen mill and later home of Digital Equipment Corp. The technical discussion begins at 1:45 of the video.

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