CW-WDM MSA Consortium Releases First Specification for Multi-Wavelength Optical Sources

Posted Jun 10, 2021

The CW-WDM MSA (Continuous-Wave Wavelength Division Multiplexing Multi-Source Agreement) Group, dedicated to defining and promoting specifications for multi-wavelength advanced integrated optics, has released the first official specification for 8, 16, and 32 wavelength optical sources.

The Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) defines laser sources covering three spans in O-band wavelength grids. These lasers can be used as optical sources for multiple applications such as high-density co-packaged optics, machine learning and optical computing. Each wavelength grid is defined with enough technical detail to ensure interoperability across the range of applications. The MSA also outlines measurement methods required for standards compliance.

The CW-WDM MSA just published an 8, 16, and 32 wavelength O-band laser source standard for use in optical transceivers for emerging advanced datacom applications,” commented Chris Cole, Chair of the MSA. “Laser sources are the critical component in optical communications, and having an agreed set of grids creates great opportunities for transceiver and laser suppliers to develop innovative products.”

Billy McLaughlin, Managing Director of Sivers Photonics, said, “Having this agreed set of wavelength standards available across the industry is a huge step forward in allowing for the further development of advanced integrated optics applications. We are excited at the possibilities this new framework provides, and the potential solutions we can offer to our customers, as the industry evolves to support these emerging high-volume applications.”

Consortium co-founders, Sivers Photonics, worked with industry leaders on the specification to facilitate advances in artificial intelligence, data center efficiency, and other advanced applications of optical interconnects.

Key Highlights of the MSA Specifications:

  • Frequency assignments for 8, 16 and 32 wavelength grid configurations with multiple grid spacings
  • Two physical configurations, including a modular optical source with each output port carrying a single wavelength, and an integrated optical source with each output port carrying all the wavelengths
  • A range of output power classes targeting applications that require very low and very high output levels
  • Definitions of optical parameters and measurement methods, including relative intensity noise, side mode suppression ratio (SMSR), and linewidth
  • Fixed and flexible wavelength grid configurations to support deployment in a variety of environmental conditions
About the CW-WDM MSA

The CW-WDM MSA (Continuous-Wave Wavelength Division Multiplexing Multi-Source Agreement) was formed to standardize WDM CW sources in the O-band for emerging advanced integrated optics applications that are expected to move to 8, 16, and 32 wavelengths. Such higher wavelength counts are needed for emerging applications such as silicon photonics (SiPh) based high-density co-packaged optics, optical computing, and AI, and enable a leap in performance, efficiency, cost, and bandwidth scaling compared with previous technology generations.

Promoter Members of the CW-WDM MSA are Arista Networks, Ayar Labs, II-VI Incorporated, imec, Intel Corporation, Lumentum, Luminous Computing, MACOM, Quintessent, Sivers Photonics, and Sumitomo Electric.

Click here to view/download the CW-WDM MSA specification.