Optical Component and Transceiver Test Backgrounder

March 22, 2010

Executive Summary

As consumers' interest in YouTube, online gaming, 3G video calls and video-on-demand continues to proliferate, and bandwidth demands grow, companies are expanding their networks via long distance Metro connections into the access networks. It is expected that by end of 2012, nearly 90 million households will have Fiber-to-the-Home (Heavy Reading, Feb 08, 2008), driving the industry to heighten its focus on long to medium reach optical connections and transmissions. Dell'Oro Group says that it expects worldwide combined sales for DSL, cable, and PON access equipment, including both access concentrators and CPE, will decline 10 percent in 2009 to $8.7 billion. However, PON revenues are expected to grow each year throughout the forecast period (Lightwave: Dell'Oro: PON market bucks economy, grows in 2009 and beyond.)

This same consumer demand has also created a surge in the size and number of required datacenters and thus is also driving the industry to focus on optical connections and transmissions over very short reaches typically less than 150 meters. It's foreseeable that the stimulus packages granted by governments in US, China and Germany to cope with the economic situation, put massive emphasize onto the broadband build-out. The cost of the build out, which lies in cable and fiber deployments, has led service providers to manage their networks by employing optical component solutions that offer the flexibility, lower costs and speed the industry demands. The bandwidth hunger demands a NGN (Next Generation Network) with a dynamic management of the fiber links, which can be achieved through optical network elements, such as tunable transponders that manage wavelengths and reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers (ROADMs), in combination with higher bit-rates at 40/100G. Dense packaging of information through advanced/complex modulation schemes -- known from the RF/uWave world - will drive a new set of 40/100G components and modules.

These network changes allow Agilent Technologies' customers and their customers to reduce their operating expenditures, deploy more bandwidth-hungry applications and services, while conducting accurate measurements and analysis.

Consumers continue to select from a growing number of bandwidth-intensive services.Next generation smartphones, higher-speed xDSL, FTTH and mobile data access heavily improve the positive customer experience and drive the acceptance of these services.

Businesses and Enterprises take dvantage of cloud computing using services over the Internet without having the knowledge of the technological infrastructure.

  • Enterprises also need to invest in new capacity to handle the growing number of 10-Gbit/s- connected servers and service solutions.

  • GbEthernet connections to almost every PC are becoming the norm, and the number of 10- Gigabit Ethernet-connected servers is growing.

  • Within the data-center and high-performance-computing sectors, high-speed networks are required for a massive service aggregation.

The Financial Sector recognizes huge competitive advantages by significantly reducing the network latency

  • NYSE to implement 100Gbps network. "The Network will support new major data centers in New York and London. In fact, competitiveness in the financial sector overall is no longer measured in milliseconds, but in microseconds. Network latency is not an option".

Service Providers and Enterprises make strategic investments into higher network capacity to get rid of the bottlenecks in long-haul/metro network and aggregation nodes and win the competitive race.

  • Both AT&T and Verizon are committed to leapfrogging from 40G to 100G as soon as possible, according(Telecom Pragmatics).
  • Organizations are switching from company-owned hardware and software assets to per-use service-based models" and a "projected shift to cloud computing. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Verizon's "Computing as a Service" (CaaS) are an evidence for the business model of cloud computing (August 2008, Gartner Research)

40/100G and 100G Ethernet links are indispensable to make this happen. For the long haul and metro, these high-speed links are required for connecting core routers together.

"Agilent is committed to guiding the industry's transition to the next-generation network," said Juergen Beck, general manager of Agilent's Digital and Photonic Test business. "By providing optical test equipment for 40/100G, we help optical component vendors stay at the forefront of technology as broadband services evolve, and get today's and tomorrow's products to market even faster."

Furthermore, the communication industry undergoes a massive change with new challenges in the wireless,wireline and computer area. Smartphones and iPADs dramatically fill the UMTS networks and a move to LTE is urgently needed. Cloud computing and new services influence the design of Data Centers, which need to work at much higher data rates at lowest power consumption.Optical interconnects on computer systems will increase dramatically to connect all kind of peripherals.The move to coherent transmission systems in the long-distance telecommunication system is indispensable. DQPSK is moving to manufacturing. 16QAM, 64QAM and OADM drives research centers and development departments.

Communication pipes are filled by new services in Television, Gaming, Cloud Computing, Data Centers and Mobile, which get to new dimension every day based on the availability of new speed classes and standards. Optical interconnects in new computing devices and peripherals open a new huge market for optical component suppliers.

Introduction to Optical Technology

Since 2000, the for demand for broadband services has significantly increased due to vendors first being only interested in long distance services, but then also the emergence of multimedia applications led companies to build networks that offer point-to-point access, from receiver to transceiver.

As the consumer electronics and digital technology sectors grew, companies sought to decrease labor costs, increase network speeds, lower power consumption of components (to have less environmental impact) and reduce manufacturing costs while they witnessed an interest in moving from 10Gb Ethernet to 40Gb Ethernet, and are now beginning to think more about 100Gb. An article by the FTTH Council on www.ftthcouncil.org talks about the introduction of a "100 Megabit Nation" - a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives calling for universal availability of next-generation broadband networks with transmission speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) by 2015. A companion resolution (Senate Resolution 191, www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=sr110-191 was introduced in the U.S Senate in 2007.

The telecommunications industry realized how manufacturers, design and test engineers, and researchers could benefit from utilizing optical component solutions to characterize and verify standard conformance, decrease costs, troubleshoot designs and improve manufacturing yields. Hence, optical component solutions were introduced to meet the demand for triple play applications and services.

Figure 1 - Drivers for Bandwidth

Figure 1: Drivers for Bandwidth

Agilent Technologies' knowledge and expertise in digital and optical measurement technology has enabled the delivery of a broad range of test solutions, covering the lifecycle that includes component level testing; design and verification of components and systems; compliance testing (to follow standards; shortens development cycles) and manufacturing testing.
Agilent distinguishes itself from its competitors by addressing all of the facets of the testing lifecycle, including a commitment to working with customers from the early stages.

In addition, Agilent has two strong technology bases that make it possible to link optical transceiver testing with both digital test and photonic test and measurement. The high-speed digital test solutions are used for digital debug, characterization, and validation of digital electrical components and systems, and the photonic test and measurement enables faster and more accurate characterization of new photonic devices and transmission systems.

Agilent's optical component solutions include:

Subcomponent Characterization

The new generation of Lightwave Component Analyzers (LCA) offers electro-optical S-parameter test for all markets from CATV to 10GbE, Fibre Channel and 40/100G broadband of electro-optical components. The tests results are traceable to international standards and can be set up quickly to provide accurate measurements.

The 8163/4/6B Lightwave Measurement System (LMS) are benchtop and carry along instruments that offer high speed, high dynamics measurement for passive component test and are ready to use applications for ease of operation. The new LAN interface of the 8163B lightwave multimeter and 8164B LMS enables additional remote controlling capabilities and reduces cost of integration into test systems.

Design and Verification of Components and Systems

The N4391A Optical Modulation Analyzer addresses the test and measurement gap for time-domain analysis of amplitude and phase modulated optical signals for 40/100G single wavelength transmission market. Designed in close cooperation with Agilent Labs it offers the highest flexibility in analyzing all broadly used modulation schemes in a turn-key solution, enabling scientists and research engineers to verify their ideas in shortest time. In-depth analysis of these optical signals with new analysis tools gives deepest insight into transceiver designs and the quality of the components. Working with the optical modulation analyzer allows to focus on the transceiver research and design instead of building test solutions that are proprietary and therefore lagging a reference which results in a significant competitive edge.

The Agilent Series 90000A Infiniium Oscilloscope with the O/E Converter 81495A provides real-time optical measurements up to 12.5 Gb/s with performance of single-shot real time capture of optical signals. This O/E application solution allows powerful real-time signal post-processing and analysis.

The J-BERT N4903B High-performance Serial BERT offers complete jitter tolerance characterization for serial receivers running up to 12.5 or 14.2 Gb/s on the electrical interface. Its extremely clean signals, combined with the optional built-in jitter injection simplifies an accurate characterization of receiver and transmitter performance under ideal and worst-case conditions. The N4876A 28 Gb/s Multiplexer allows extending the generator data rate of the J-BERT N4903B or ParBERT 82150A up to 28.4 Gb/s by multiplexing two generator channels. With its excellent output performance it helps to optimize design margins by minimizing the influence of the test equipment on measurement results.

The new N7711A and N7714A tunable laser sources enable more cost-effective transmission system verification and optical transceiver manufacturing testing. They are offered in single-port and four-port versions, with C-band or L-band wavelength coverage. Their narrow linewidth and offset grid fine-tuning make them ideal sources for realistic loading of the latest transmission systems. The new 81950A tunable laser source module which offers the same features as the N7711A, and plugs into the 8163B and 8164B Lightwave Measurement System mainframes.

Compliance Testing

The award-winning N4917A Optical Receiver Stress Test Solution offers repeatable and complete optical stress testing for receiver optical sub assemblies (ROSAs) and transceiver modules operating at up to 12.5 Gb/s data rates. Agilent's reference transmitter, software and filter sets that can be combined with the J-BERT N4903A/B, the optical receiver stress test solution and the DCA-J allow calibrated and complete optical jitter and stress injection.

The Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD) test solution verifies how robust transmission systems can be, allows manufacturers of optical networks to specify the PMD tolerance of modules and systems. Integrators and operators of networks can easily compare different vendors systems based on the specifications

The 86100CDigital Communication Analyzer (DCA-J) is the industry standard for optical waveform analysis and compliance testing. Solutions range from 155 Mb/s to over 40 Gb/s including the 86116C plug-in module with 25.8/27 or 39.8/43.0 Gb/s optical reference receivers and 93 GHz electrical bandwidth making it possible to investigate, design, and verify the performance of next-generation LAN/SAN transmitters and systems. The new 86115D multi-port optical receiver can significantly reduce cost of test for high volume transceiver manufacturing. As parallel transmission systems become common, the 86115D is the ideal solution to observe multiple signals simultaneously.

Cost-effective Manufacturing Test

Agilent N775/6xA Multi Channel Attenuators. The new Agilent N775xA and N776xA series high density integrated multi channel attenuators perfectly support the requirements of rising bandwidth rates while costs must continue to fall, including the cost to test. This is particularly true for testing transceiver components as well as testing network equipment in meshed networks integration labs.The instruments combine multiple functions for setting attenuation and power levels, and power measurement at the same time in a small form factor to reduce CAPEX and floor space. The granularities of 1, 2 and 4 attenuator channels combined with two external power meter channels in one equipment unit provide excellent compromise between versatility and density.

Agilent's N7744A and N7745A Optical Power Meters with four or eight power-sensor channels provide manufacturing customers with increased throughput and operational efficiency to meet today's challenges in manufacturing. By simply replacing the power meter modules, IL/PDL measurements of multi-channel devices are sped up by a factor of 10.

The Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD) Test Solution

Optical component analysis with the Agilent Polarization Test Solutions addresses applications including Differential Group Delay (DGD), Polarization Mode Dispersion, Insertion Loss, Polarization Dependent Loss, Second Order Polarization Mode Dispersion (SOPMD) etc. The toolset features single sweep characterization, fs repeatability in a single sweep for DGD. The N7788B Agilent Optical Component Analyzer tests 10G-100G for PMD and DGD. The technology offered by the solution advances the industry-known Jones-Matrix-Eigenanalysis (JME) which is the standard method for measuring PMD and DGD.

Agilent's PXIT N2100B, N2101B and N2102B

The modular PXIT Test Platform supports cost reduction through lower price and higher throughput for optical transceiver manufacturing test lines. This small footprint optical transceiver test platform is the only modular manufacturing focused solution that combines a BERT and a DCA therefore providing optimal integration in a highly flexible, cost-effective manner.The product line characterizes the quality of transceivers from 155Mb/s to 10.3Gb/s to provide a cost-effective integrated manufacturing test solution.

The N7700A Photonic Application Suite is a modular software platform for characterization and analysis of optical components and signals, offering fastest swept PDL measurements. Software modules are available to support applications like broadband, ROADM, Mux/DeMux and Filter characterization as well as optical signal transient analysis. For engineers and technicians who develop, manufacture and integrate optical multi-port components, the Agilent N7700A Photonic Application Suite offers a very fast, most reliable and accurate, and highly flexible solution, which enables them to reduce development time as well as increase the throughput and yield on their manufacturing lines.

Figure 2 - Agilent's Optical Component Test Portfolio

Figure 2:
Agilent's Optical Component Test Portfolio

Agilent's Digital Test Standards Program

Agilent's measurement solutions and services development for digital applications is driven and supported by the work that Agilent's experts do in the various international standard committees. The Agilent Standards Program for digital applications comprises Double Data Rate (DDR) memory, PCI Express®, DisplayPort, Universal Serial Bus (USB), Serial ATA (SATA), Serial Attached SCSI (T10), High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI®), DigRF/MIPI and optical transceiver test. Our experts are in the Board of Directors in Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC), PCI-SIG® and Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). Agilent is contributing member in Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), USB-Implementers Forum (USB-IF) and Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Alliance.

Agilent's involvement in these standards gives Agilent and its customers, the computing and communication component vendors to the electronics consumer market, two main advantages:

  • First, it enables us to bring the right products to the market when our customers need them. We aim to be first to market with our solutions so you as our customer can be first to market with your products ensuring standard compliance.
  • Second, with Agilent's involvement in plug-fests, workshops and seminars we are in the unique position to develop solutions that evolve with the standards, giving you the ability to design the best products with the highest confidence.

PCI Express, PCIe and PCI-SIG are registered trademarks and trademarks respectively of the PCI-SIG.

HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.


Press Release:

Agilent Technologies’ New Analyzer Plug-In Module Increases Throughput, Reduces Transceiver Cost of Test

Press Release:

Agilent Technologies Adds Compact Tunable Lasers, Multimode Attenuators to 77-Series Optical Test Instruments

Press Release:

Agilent Technologies Optical Modulation Analyzer Enables Greater than 200G Transmission at 28G Symbol Rate

Press Release:

Agilent Technologies Introduces Manufacturing 10G DCA with PON Filter Rates and Industry-First Smart Post Processing

Press Release:

Agilent Technologies Introduces Photonic Application Software for Next-Generation-Network Component Test

Press Release:

Agilent Technologies to Demonstrate Industry-First Optical Test Solutions for High-Speed Networks at OFC/NFOEC 2009

Press Release: Agilent Technologies to Unveil Industry-First Optical Modulation Analyzer for 40/100G Physical Layer Test at OFC/NFOEC 2009
Press Release: Agilent Technologies Introduces the Only Turnkey Solution for Lightwave Component Analysis of Cable TV Electro-Optical Components
Press Release:

Agilent Technologies Introduces Industry-First Reference Receiver Module for Emerging LAN/SAN Applications

Press Release:

Agilent Technologies Introduces Optical Multiport Power Meter for Fast Testing of Multiport Devices, Increased Manufacturing Throughput

Agilent Documents:

For additional information visit: www.agilent.com/find/oct or www.agilent.com/find/lightwave.


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