Over the last 10 years, advances in optical transport based on digital coherent detection have enabled significant improvements in the cost per bit by transmitting higher and higher capacities. To achieve higher capacities, vendors have increased the bandwidth of components, utilized higher-order modulations, and improved algorithms, such as Forward Error Correction (FEC). At the same time, advances in CMOS process nodes and integrated photonics have enabled smaller pluggable form factors and lower power dissipation.

As coherent interfaces have evolved from bulky discrete solutions toward pluggables, there has generally been a “density penalty” associated with transport optics compared to the client optics that are used in data centers. Some solutions have attempted to overcome this by offering higher data rates in larger form factors, but this still requires customized hardware for transport applications. Network operators have long wanted transport optics at the same data rates and in the same form factors as client optics, as was possible at 10G using SFP+ form factor.

Supporting transport optics in the same form factors as client optics is beneficial for network operators because it allows simpler architectures that reduce cost. Combined with the recent industry trend toward open line systems, these transport optics can be plugged directly into a router, eliminating the need for an external transmission system. This can simplify the control plane while reducing cost, power, and footprint.

By targeting Ethernet-based transport, OpenZR+ can offer increased functionality and performance with reduced complexity, power, and implementation penalty. Leveraging elements of both OIF and Open ROADM, OpenZR+ allows network operators to achieve these benefits without sacrificing interoperability between modules.

For more information, download the OpenZR+ whitepaper, which discusses specific use cases and clear benefits from OpenZR+ operations.