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Estimates show that the world’s internet traffic volume will increase threefold between 2015 and 2020. The bulk of the increase will be from video transmissions, including video sharing, video on demand, 3D video broadcast and live streaming services. This will push technology not just in terms of storage and transmission, but also in terms of the electricity required to power the internet. Addressing this issue requires a bold move: either power has to be generated along with more cables and servers installed to keep with demand, or to use a technology which uses less energy at the same time transmits more data.

Quantum Dot Laser Technology to Address Data Center Network Speed Issues

One bold idea is to use a little-known fiber optic technology that has the potential to replace 100 fiber optic cables in the data center, at one-fourth the cost and requiring only one-fifth the energy.

…in the past five years the company has raised $40 million of investment funds from venture capital firms including Azure Capital Partners, T-Venture, BDS Venture Capital, OMERS Ventures, and MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF).

Data centers have a different requirement from home and office connectivity. A data center has multiple racks of servers, with each server connected to multiple hard disks. These servers also interact with one another. A single search inquiry might require a call to thousands of servers, accessing even more hard disks. In the data center, the network speeds required to process this data is a thousand times faster than that required to bring the information to the user.

Quantum dot laser (QDL) technology can address the required data center network speeds. Conventional fiber optic lasers can generate only one wavelength, while QDL uses multiple wavelengths from one laser source. This multiplies the amount of data being transmitted through each fiber optic cable. Ranovus Logo

Ranovus Inc. recently announced the first commercial multi-wavelength QDL and silicon photonics ring resonator modulator technologies. The technology is aimed at data center network interconnect and other high-speed applications and can have up to 96 wavelengths with 50 gigabits per second (Gpbs) per wavelength. Using this technology, a Ranovus transceiver can support up to 4.8 terabytes per second (Tbps) throughput. With the proper electronics the product can reach up to 120 kilometers (km) [74.56 miles]. The multiple wavelength technology allows the Ranovus QDL and ring resonator modular tech to support WDM signal modulation without any multiplexing or de-multiplexing required.

The Ranovus design helps to achieve scalable multi-terabit bandwidth with less power requirements making it less expensive to own and operate compared to other solutions in the market. Its technology development includes pluggable modules and optical engines designed for 200 Gbps applications. Their next step is to have 400 Gbps products in the near future.

QDL technology started in the Bell Northern Research labs. The company later evolved to Nortel Networks. The company was based in Mississauga, Canada and closed shop in 2013, but the technology was kept by Canada’s National Research Council. Hamid Arabzadeh worked at Nortel and later negotiated with the Network Reliability Council (NRC) to commercialize QDL. In 2012, Arabzadeh founded Ranovus; in the past five years the company has raised $40 million of investment funds from venture capital firms including Azure Capital Partners, T-Venture, BDS Venture Capital, OMERS Ventures, and MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF).

They first demonstrated their technology in European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) held in 2016 in Dusseldorf, Germany.