Although we introduced the Cisco CPAK 100G pluggable transceiver back in March at OFC/NFOEC, many people hadn’t yet seen our CMOS photonics technology from our acquisition of Lightwire back in 2012. As a result we had a lot of interest at the WDM Monaco event this week to learn more about the solution capable of lowering the space, power, and complexity of deploying 100 Gbps interfaces by up to 70%. So much interest in fact that we won the “Best Optical Product – 100G” award!
Some in the industry have asked why we chose our own path – why we didn’t go with a Multi Source Agreement (MSA) such as CFP-2. The reason was dictated by our customers and their timelines– they could see the exploding demand for bandwidth on their networks and told us they needed a solution to make 100G more cost-effective while significantly increasing the density of 100G interfaces in networking equipment. It takes years of planning and development to deliver a new solution. Cisco’s next generation routing, switching, data center, and optical transport products required faster development of a portfolio of pluggable solutions with lower power and higher density than the rest of the industry was prepared to deliver and selecting CPAK ensured we’d have a transceiver that met our customer timeframes.
There are now two systems using CPAK technology. Besides the ONS15454 DWDM solution, last week we announced the Cisco CRS-X with a 4x100G line card as the first IP platform in the industry using the CPAK form factor. In fact, CPAK technology plays a key role in enabling the proven architecture of the CRS platform to economically scale 10 times the capacity over 10 years (from 40Gbps to 400Gbps per slot capacity).