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For more than two decades, AddOn Networks has been serving the fiber and copper connectivity industries (telecommunications, service providers, data centers, enterprises, and governments). The company addresses the requirements of customer networks of all shapes and sizes and has expanded globally to include a world-class in-environment network testing lab and localized support gurus.

AddOn’s fiber solutions are diverse and often customizable to fit any network needs, whether a first-party option exists or not—all while helping network operators save significantly per-optic over competitors

What are some of the unique connectivity challenges data centers are facing today?

Generational Technology Shifts – PAM4 modulation is enabling network growth to 200G and higher data rates in data centers. PAM4 also introduces complexities to the network; however, it is not backward compatible with legacy NRZ modulated links. Additionally, the DSPs onboard to transceivers and cabling may increase both power consumption and network latency.

Operating cost/power consumption – In particular, data center power consumption metrics are top of mind for any organization. Every watt counts to reduce costs over the useful life of IT equipment. The key challenge for data center operators is finding the balance between critical network upgrades and sustainability.

Latency – In addition to that, high-performance computer applications driven by artificial intelligence, high-frequency trading, and 5G edge computing owe their success to low-latency networks. These networks require reduced latency at the host and even at the transceiver level

AddOn lab

How have AddOn solutions helped data centers with connectivity pain points in the past?

We specialize in unique multi-coding capable solutions (breakouts, DACs, AOCs) that simplify multi-OEM environment connectivity, in turn reducing complexity and cost.

We offer the AddOn Coding and Tuning Box which is an in-field tunable solution that retunes tunable transceivers as needed, reducing stock complexity. This, in turn, helps triage & repair failing network links far faster. Our high-quality transceivers & cabling are perfectly crafted hardware, expert coding, thorough in-environment testing, unique serialization, a legacy to cutting-edge form factors/data rates, and more.

We also offer cutting-edge long-range access/transport/DCI solutions (ZR4, coherent, PAM4) and help in component selection as we can tailor the components in our transceivers and cabling to meet the unique needs of today’s networks.

How is AddOn selecting components for today’s data center challenges?

Today’s networking upgrade trends use core technologies such as time-sensitive networking and InfiniBand™. 5G edge computing, hyperscale data center interconnects, high-frequency trading, and financial technologies are among the data center operations choosing these networking technologies to reduce latency in high-speed, data-dense network links. The introduction of PAM4 modulation has brought the spotlight on the connectivity portion of the network.

The first generation of PAM4 transceivers and active optical cables relied on DSPs to perform key modulation functions. The DSP introduced both latency and increased power consumption into the network. Passive DAC cables offer a low-latency and low-power solution for both 200G and 400G upgrades. DAC cables are great for in-rack, short-reach applications up to 2.5 meters, but beyond those reaches, other solutions are needed.

How did AddOn offer a solution for reducing latency and improve performance in networks?

All fiber optic networks must consider latency in their design and construction. Latency within DC networks has been reduced by AddOn’s use of high-quality components and engineering principles for proper design.

For example, AddOn introduced a 200G active optical cable solution (with a reach of more than 2.5m) that migrates away from DSP-based optics to an analog clock and data recovery circuit (CDR) optics. This architecture effectively reduces latency to a fraction of a DSP-based solution while reducing overall power consumption.

AddOn transceiver tray

How does AddOn help data centers reduce costs?

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for improving data center performance, AddOn understands the strategies that can extend the life of their infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of OEMs. By reducing power consumption, port power limits, and hardware costs, AddOn has helped data centers increase bandwidth and speed capabilities even with the rising demands of consumers.

Why do clients prefer to work with AddOn instead of an original equipment manufacturer?

With a deep US/UK-based inventory, AddOn can deliver items fast. This is one of the primary reasons that companies prefer to work with us. Our world-class labs ensure a 99.98 percent reliability rate. The other factors include ease of doing business, quality, and the support we provide.

How is AddOn preparing to address the upcoming problems for data centers?

AddOn will be introducing new scalable solutions that maximize existing infrastructure and create comfortable overheads (400G & 800G optics, DACs, AOCs, patch cables, etc.). Further, we will offer deep on-hand inventory (avoids delays/backorders, reduced shipping times, and products available to ship when needed). We have local experts standing by to support when needed with the backing of a limited lifetime warranty for the rare fault or failure.

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