Silicon Photonics for the New Internet

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By 2020 we’ll be able to send in one hour the total volume of data traffic sent in the whole of the year 2000. In 2016, the traffic during an average hour is equivalent to 250 million people streaming high-definition video continuously. In a busy hour, this rises to the equivalent of about 600 million people streaming high-definition video continuously. In 2017 the number of devices connected to IP networks is predicted to be three times the global population. All this data is switched, stored, and retrieved by data centers.
The growth of cloud storage and the computing environment is making the physical dimension of data centers huge. In addition, large-scale data center architectures are becoming larger, more modular, and more homogeneous. Workloads are spread across tens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of virtual machines and host computers.
Silicon Photonics is the roadmap evolution from CMOS and BiCMOS technologies and this technology is critical to meeting these estimates. ST’s PIC25 Silicon Photonics technology uses light instead of electrons to move signals through semiconductor waveguides. Silicon Photonics enables higher optical interconnection speeds with optimal space usage, allowing quicker data exchange between optical and electrical components.
Silicon Photonics is already becoming a reality in Industrial applications, reducing both the bill of materials and easing assembly. And Silicon Photonics is a sustainable, scalable, and viable path towards On-Board Optics for next-generation networking equipment and infrastructure.
You can read a presentation on Silicon Photonics as given at the ST Developers Conference earlier this year here.