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The Analysis of Optical Transceiver Market in the 5G Era

25G BiDi optical transceivers, 50G PAM4 optical transceivers, and low-cost coherent 100G optical transceivers are typical representatives of 5G fronthaul/midhaul/backhaul networks for optical transceivers. Low cost is the main appeal point of 5G wireless optical transceiver in the industrial chain. Specification grading, industrial chain sharing, technological innovation and localization replacement are the main means to achieve low cost. The key technologies of 5G wireless optical transceivers are mainly embodied in the level of optoelectronic chips. The expansion of functions, the increase of speed and the decrease of cost are the main targets for the innovation of optoelectronic chip technology.

  • 5G demand will inject new impetus into the wireless optical transceiver market and further increase the space of this segment.
  • In the 5G era, low cost will remain the main demand for optical transceivers in the industry chain.
  • The most fundamental means of achieving low cost is technological innovation.
  • The technological innovation of optoelectronic devices can be embodied in three levels: function expansion, rate increase, and cost reduction.

With the gradual increase in download rate requirements, wireless communications are increasingly dependent on fiber optic communications. In the current wireless communication network, except that the “last mile” is a “wireless” form, the communication links after the antenna are all optical networks. In the 5G era, the intergenerational upgrade brought more than just a huge increase in the download rate. The low-latency, large-scale machine communication features not available in the 4G era will lead to new features such as driverless and universal interconnection applications.

Therefore, 5G wireless communication will change life more than 3G and 4G. The large-capacity and long-distance natural advantages of optical fiber communication meet the requirements of 5G for bearer networks. In the first 5G era, the terminal driving force for the rapid development of optical fiber communication technology and industry is the family and enterprises that are connected by wired form. The popularization and subsequent upgrade of “fiber to the home” and “fiber to the building” have driven access networks and cities. Comprehensive coverage and performance upgrade of the domain network and backbone network. In the 5G era, mobile phones, automobiles, home appliances, and industrial equipment that are connected in a wireless form will serve as new terminals, and will jointly promote the technological advancement and industrial development of optical fiber communication with terminals connected to fixed networks.

The deployment of 4G brings a new market segment to the optical transceiver industry. The demand for 5G will inject new impetus into the wireless optical transceiver market and further increase the space in this market segment. The characteristics of the site density and time synchronization accuracy of the 5G network put forward new requirements for the function and performance of the optical transceiver. Next, the representative requirements of 5G for optical transceivers will be explained by several representative examples.

Optical Transceivers for 5G Optical Network
Optical Transceivers for 5G Optical Network

25G BiDi Optical Transceivers for 5G Fronthaul

In the 4G era, the demand for optical transceivers in the fronthaul network was dominated by single-mode 10G duplex optical transceivers. In the 5G era, the fronthaul network will still be dominated by fiber-optic direct drives, but new requirements are imposed on the speed and optical port of optical transceivers. Considering the saving of fiber resources, and the equidistance of uplink and downlink to ensure high-precision time synchronization, BiDi products have advantages over duplex ones.

On the other hand, 5G has at least a 10x improvement in download rate compared to 4G. Under the enhanced Common Public Radio Interface (eCPRI) protocol, a rate of 25Gbit/s is also necessary. Based on the above two considerations, the 25G BiDi optical transceiver can better meet the needs of 5G fronthaul transmission. A transmission distance of 10km covers most application scenarios. In wavelength selection, the 1270/1 330nm solution will facilitate low-cost optical transceivers.

50G PAM4 Optical Transceivers fro 5G Midhaul/Backhaul

The 5G midhaul/backhaul network will have requirements for optical transceivers at 50Gbit/s. Considering the low-cost implementation, 25G optical devices with PAM4 modulation formats will become a more attractive solution. The 50G PAM4 optical transceiver is mainly available in 10km and 40km. The 10km modules with 25G baud rate DML ensure low cost, while 25G baud rate EML and APD are required for 40km modules. On the other hand, for both 10km and 40km modules, high linearity laser drivers and transimpedance amplifiers are required.

Low-cost Coherent 100G Optical Transceivers for 5G Backhaul

The aggregation layer and core layer of the 5G backhaul network have requirements for coherent 100G/200G/400G optical transceivers. The wavelength is in the C-band, and the transmission distance is generally within 200km. Low-cost coherent 100G optical transceivers are considered as cell technologies, and based on this cell technology, wavelength division multiplexing technology can be used to achieve higher transmission bandwidth.

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