I live in a very fast-growing community. In the past twenty (20) years, the city has grown by a factor of ten (10x) from 20,000 to over 200,000 people. New home construction, shopping centers, and schools are everywhere. This growth has come with a corresponding increase in car traffic and congestion. Even when one knows the change is coming, it is hard to plan for and expand the roads to meet the ever-increasing traffic and population (Figure 1).
"Silicon photonics delivers a cost-effective solution for faster connectivity over long distances to maximize the utilization of hyperscale computing"
Figure 1: Expressways are important infrastructure for managing traffic.Data traffic also needs to be managed. (Source: Kalyakan/Stock.adobe.com)
Analogously, the information age has done the same thing to digital data. Data is growing at a staggering rate from an ever-increasing number of types and sources. According to Forbes, 90 percent of the world’s data was created in the last two (2) years alone. The digital revolution demands that society handles more and more data that is being generated at an exponential pace. This article will discuss how semiconductor-based silicon photonics enables us to meet these needs. Silicon photonics technology melds together the silicon (Si) integrated circuit (IC) and the semiconductor diode laser. It allows faster data transfer over longer distances compared to traditional electronics.
Most people recognize that digital data is an asset in our everyday personal and business lives. People employ mobile phones and desktops to access the internet, send texts, get on Zoom calls for work and school, or watch cat videos. The rise of several technology inflections is shaping the future of technology.
These technologies essentially take advantage of the new degrees of efficiency and scale of cloud computing architectures. Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user. Large clouds often have functions distributed over multiple locations, each location being a data center. Once sent to the data center, information is extended to the network and edge, enabling applications such as the internet of things (IoT), industrial automation (IA) via robotics, and Industry 4.0. The edge demands more and more computing closer to where data is being created and consumed, driving a wave of multifunction, computation-hungry devices. Workloads are no longer static between enterprises and public clouds. These workloads get distributed to a mix of hybrid and multi-cloud arrangements.
Telecommunications’ fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks (5G) enables rich experiences and services (Figure 2). The upshot is a fundamental change in how society thinks of computation and the requirements for how most networks will need to be transformed in the fronthaul. Fronthaul (antenna to central office) is the fiber-based connection in radio access network (RAN) infrastructure between the Baseband Unit (BBU) and Remote Radio Head (RRH). With the advent of new 5G applications, flexible fronthaul networks are required to balance the latency, throughput, and reliability requirements. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are becoming fundamentally incorporated and pervasive in most applications. AI enables customers to leverage the power of data.