Cisco, Microsoft part of optics consortium directing data center standards

COBO seeks to standardize on-board optics to reduce cost, improve airflow

A group of big name vendors including Cisco, Microsoft, Dell, Intel, Broadcom, Juniper and Arista Networks this week created a consortium to address switch faceplate bandwidth density and airflow constraints caused by increasing networking speeds.

The Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) is promoting collaboration in defining industry standards that permit relocating the optical module from the faceplate to inside where economic and environmental benefits can be achieved.

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The consortium will work on a set of standards that define electrical interfaces, management interfaces, thermal requirements and pinouts to permit the development of interchangeable and interoperable optical modules that can be mounted or socketed on a network switch or adapter motherboard. COBO will enable the development of optical modules that can be placed closer to the network integrated circuits to decrease the power required to interface to the modules while also increasing faceplate bandwidth density and airflow.

Standardizing these specifications may also open up these optics to a broader market.

Other founding COBO members include Coriant, Finisar, Inphi, JDSU, Luxtera, Mellanox, Oclaro, RANOVUS, Source Photonics and TE Connectivity. The companies will work together to develop specifications and technology roadmaps for on-board optical modules.

Companies interested in becoming a member of COBO should visit this site.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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