Rockley Photonics Demonstrates Breakthrough Technology to Enable Scalable Next-Generation Data Center Networks

Unique application of electronics and photonics drives down cost per bit and power consumption

Pasadena, California, September 14, 2015 – Rockley Photonics, innovators in optical solutions for next-generation networks, has demonstrated breakthrough technology that will enable operators to create a new generation of mega data centers using optical switching within the heart of the network.

Experts predict that data traffic in cloud data centers may require 1000 times more bandwidth than that deployed today in order to keep up with demand for Internet services over the next 10 years. 

Many believe that current network technologies within existing data centers have reached their economical scaling limits; they are incapable of supporting the future needs of the data center market – a sector valued in excess of $10bn.

Engineers at Rockley Photonics are applying integrated solutions in electronics and photonics to get the best out of each technology in a way that will transform the design of future data centers, supporting higher data rates at significantly lower cost and power.

“Major operators tell us that they are on ‘red alert’ when it comes to scaling the network to support their future data center requirements,” said Andrew Rickman, Chief Executive Officer, Rockley Photonics. “They will need an extraordinary expansion in bandwidth to keep up with demands on the Internet and they need to do it economically and power efficiently. Today, they don’t have a solution for that.

We have now demonstrated the ability to combine photonics and electronics in a unique architecture, which will enable us to simplify switch design, create vastly more scalable networks using much larger switches, and drive down the cost per bit while substantially reducing power consumption.”

Rockley Photonics is now prototyping its architecture using programmable chips (FPGAs) and custom photonic devices to prove the concept of scalable optical packet switching in a realistic system environment. Once it has fully evaluated the scalable system architecture, the company will move the design from its prototyping platform to system chips for production purposes. Commercial availability of these products is scheduled in 2017.

Rockley Photonics

Rockley Photonics (www.rockleyphotonics.com) was founded in August 2013 by an experienced management team with success in commercializing silicon photonics and CMOS electronics. 

It helps customers achieve next-generation bandwidth requirements economically by providing more scalable and lower-cost data center networks that keep pace with Moore’s Law and the growth in data processing speeds.

Chairman and CEO, Dr Andrew Rickman, previously founded Bookham Technology in the UK and more recently acted as Chairman of Kotura Inc. With offices in Oxford, UK and Pasadena, California, USA, the company is establishing a fabless silicon photonics (the optical equivalent of silicon microelectronics) model and infrastructure.