Overcoming the Driver Cost in Extreme Short Range Optical Interconnect

T. Courtney and F. Chevalier (UK)


Fibre Channel, Storage System, Optical Interconnect, Short range Optics, Optical backplane


As board level interconnect speeds increase they run into the problem of interference between communication channels. Optical communications would alleviate this problem but optical drivers are many orders of magnitude more expensive then electrical ones and so use of optical board level interconnect has not become main stream. In this paper we introduce a novel backplane interconnect topology that allows a reduced number of drivers to be used in an optical interconnect system. The result of this is that the current high cost barrier to the adoption of board level optical interconnect will be lowered for a high volume application, namely storage systems. We show how this new topology is fully interoperable with the communications protocols that exist today and how its use results in a reduction of up to 48% in the number of optical drivers required in the system. We then go on to show how the number of simultaneous connections, the number of optical drivers and the density of electrical signals can be traded off against one another and suggest a system with 93% fewer optical drivers and the same performance compared with an optical implementation of todays state of the art system.

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