Silicon photonics maker Lightwire to be acquired by Cisco

SAN JOSE, CA--Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) says it is buying privately held Lightwire (Allentown, PA), which manufactures CMOS-based optical interconnects for high-speed networking applications. Lightwire, with an office in Santa Clara, CA, integrates multiple high speed active and passive optical functions onto a small silicon chip.

According to a previous announcement from Lightwire, its transciever was the first commercially available standards-compliant CMOS photonics product. The 10 Gbit/s Ethernet (GE) small-form-factor pluggable long-reach multimode (SFP+ LRM) transceiver operates at 1310 nm and is used to connect servers and network equipment in Ethernet networks at distances up to 220 m.

The device is based on Lightwire’s ASIC interconnect-platform technology jointly developed with the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing (both in Singapore) and integrates light-modulation circuitry onto silicon. Lightwire has said it uses MODE Solutions software from Lumerical Solutions (Vancouver, BC, Canada) extensively for developing its silicon photonic devices.

Cisco says that the smaller size, lower power consumption and scalability of Lightwire's CMOS-based technology enable switches, routers, and optical transport systems to have higher-density optical connectivity at a lower cost, allowing carriers to further reduce their operational and capital costs and offer new revenue-generating services.

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