About Compass Networks
Compass Networks is a next generation networking company. Its photonic backplane technology, icPhotonics™ powers ultra-bandwidth dense networking devices that bring networking into the age of modularity and virtualization. Our icPhotonics™ technology is the world’s first commercial silicon for inter-chip optical interconnect. Its routers and SDN Forwarding Planes are a new breed of scale-out networking devices, enabling SDN-based, simplified architectures in service provider networks.
The world runs on data but today’s high-speed carrier grade routers are costly, power-hungry and extremely complex to scale.
At the heart of the problem lies a simple truth: high-speed router technology evolution has reached a near-plateau; a profound technology shift is required to make the future of networking more scalable and sustainable. Compass Networks’ icPhotonics™ technology, the world’s first optical chip-to-chip interconnect, enables this revolution, resulting in higher-speed networking elements (routers and SDN Forwarding Planes) with a smaller footprint and lower power requirements. What’s more, Compass-EOS networking elements enable a distributed networking architecture made of modular building-blocks that can scale simply and easily, just like servers are added to scale data centers.
This inherent innovation drives the new generation of system developed by Compass Networks: the SDN Forwarding Plane. The SDN Forwarding Plane takes its instructions from processes in the cloud and defines in detail what each flow in the plane is doing in a packet-by-packet basis, supporting SDN/NFV based open-standard protocols. It lets Service Providers incrementally scale through the simple addition of more devices, just like servers are used to scale data centers today.
High-performance networking requires ultra-fast data transfer between microchips. Electronics-based interconnect requires compromises between data speed and interconnect distance; these compromises act as a bottleneck within any router, requiring a costly and power-hungry switching fabric and midplane that further increase router footprint, management and maintenance requirements.
Compass Networks’ routers and SDN Forwarding Plane along with their icPhotonics™ interconnect provide a simple and more scalable alternative to today’s multi-chassis solutions, enabling a distributed switching architecture of modular building blocks.
Optical Interconnect: icPhotonics™
The chip- interconnect problem can be overcome by using a direct optical connection. The electrical data is converted to an optical signal which is routed optically, using laser and photoreceiver matrices that are directly assembled on top of a CMOS chip. This revolutionary approach has been attempted by many; Compass Networks’ icPhotonics™ is the first commercially available technology using optical chip-to-chip communication.
icPhotonics is the world’s densest chip I/O, powering Compass’ networking elements. Today, the total capacity of icPhotonics is 1.34 Terabits/sec and its roadmap is to grow to higher than 10 Terabits/sec.
Optical Backplane = A New Breed of Network Element
Since the optical connections using icPhotonics™ are ultra-fast, they enable line cards to be interconnected using a 100% passive high bandwidth optical mesh eliminating the need for a midplane and switching fabric elements – the optical backplane. The result is a network element that requires less power, less cooling and that runs much faster.
The interconnect benefits extend outside the router or SDN Forwarding Plane and are used for the interconnection of other networking elements, enabling a truly modular networking building block that can replace today’s complex multi-chassis offerings and be a part of the future of networking, be it Software Defined Networking (SDN) or other virtualized approaches. This is similar to the path that data center evolution has taken in the past, where fast interconnect and small building blocks enabled a move from large mainframes to today’s server-based scalable datacenter.