Optical Networking, Redefined.
July 24, 2020

Coherent CFP2 DCO: The Latest Breakthrough for Long-Haul DWDM Applications

We’re living through a data explosion and a web-scale era, where network capacity is an increasingly elusive and expensive find. The growth of worldwide IP traffic will undoubtedly continue its upward trajectory, and with cloud providers distributing their data center architecture closer to the edge, the industry needs more high quality, cost-effective optical connections than ever before. 

With growing and competing budget demands, the cost piece is vital. According to consulting firm McKinsey, operators could see network cost double as the industry struggles to deploy 5G and meet heightened capacity demands.

The bottom line is, the market requires high bandwidth, low cost solutions with next-gen performance and scalability. Long-haul DWDM data transmission is one application where those requirements are firm. 

Coherent Optics

Companies are tackling this need for innovative solutions starting with layer 1 and attempting to secure better bang for their buck from their existing infrastructure.

As Heavy Reading puts it, “In the telecom industry, continual advances in coherent optical transmission technology over the last decade or more have enabled greater capacity to be wrung out of deployed fiber.” 

Coherent optics have been a game-changer, of course. Fiber networks have been forever altered by the benefits coherent optical transceivers have delivered: much greater capacity and flexibility, higher bit-rates and better overall performance, to name a few. Coherent systems have kept costs down by saving companies from needing to lay more fiber. 


To address these complex market demands, we’ve seen a series of 100G DWDM pluggable transceivers arise (coherent and otherwise), allowing service provider networks and data centers to leverage flexible open line networking. Those modules include CFP DCO, QSFP28 PAM-4, CFP2 ACO and, the latest one that’s been driving conversation this year, CFP2 DCO.

The new CFP2 DCO will take it up another notch, solving for the common challenge of achieving capacity and reach without breaking the bank. Designed for a range of applications, including line-side trunk DWDM data center interconnect, metro carrier and regional/long-haul applications, this compact module supports 100Gbps and 200Gbps transmissions. Depending on the application, network operators can choose their top priority: high performance or interoperability. Boasting interoperable staircase forward error correction (FEC) and the industry’s most interoperable Digital Signal Processing (DSP), the CFP2 DCO also streamlines system integration.  

CFP2 DCO differs from its analog counterpart, CFP2 ACO, mainly because it brings the DSP back into the module. With the ACO, the DSP is located on the circuit board, interacting with DSP silicon on the line card, which requires that network operators plug those modules into slots that have the DSP. Routers and switches need to have slots specifically for line-side coherent modules and slots for client-side modules with this set up. The CFP2 DCO, on the other hand, offers more flexibility, and it supports much higher faceplate density compared with the CFP DCO. 

The CFP2 DCO delivers the incredible benefits of coherent optics with a fully pay-as-you-grow model, and it’s great for systems that weren’t originally created for coherent transmission as well as newer designs. 

What It Means for Long-Haul Applications

The flexibility and pay-as-you-grow approach, coupled with the module’s inherent capacity abilities and DWDM support, makes it ideal for long-haul applications. And thanks to the built-in DSP, the CFP2 DCO does not need a separate dispersion compensation module (DCM) but automatically features electronic dispersion compensation that allows it to reach much farther between amplification sites. In addition, the module’s power consumption stays below 19.5W even when operated in 200G mode, which is an impressive feat that promises significant OpEx savings. 

Want to see all the specs? Check out the details about PrecisionOT’s Coherent PRE-CFP2-DCO module here, and contact us with any questions.

All of our transceivers are programmed in-house with our complete system engineering process; our technical experts and system engineers build, test and customize your system at our facility. We offer a major discount compared with OEM pricing, as well as guaranteed compatibility, a lifetime warranty and complimentary pre- and post-sales technical support.