Fiberoptics Industry Report

Japanese court dismisses lawsuit against Corning

A Japanese court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Furukawa Electric Co. (Tokyo, Japan) against Corning Cable Systems International, a subsidiary of Corning (Corning, NY). In this suit, Furukawa had claimed that optical-fiber cables sold by Corning Cable Systems infringed a Japanese patent held by Furukawa, which covers a specific design of optical-fiber ribbon cable. This Japanese patent expired earlier this year. In its Oct. 29 decision, the court found that Corning Cable System’s products did not infringe Furukawa’s patent and dismissed Furukawa’s claim on that basis.

Partnership to develop fiberoptic seabed system

Research and technology specialist QinetiQ (Malvern, England) and Input/Output (Houston, TX) have formed a Joint Industry Project to develop and deploy what they claim to be the world’s first fiberoptic seabed seismic acquisition system. The JIP is co-sponsored and funded by four major oil and gas companies: BP, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, and Shell.

Input/Output is a provider of seismic technology and services to the global oil and gas industry. QinetiQ has 15 years of experience in developing fiberoptic acoustic sensor technology, operating previously as U.K. government’s Defense Evaluation and Research Agency. Together the companies will develop fiberoptic sensors and systems for in-well, ocean bottom, and marine seismic-data acquisition. The system being developed will be fully optical and designed to operate with no electronic components in the water, which should increase system reliability and reduce lifecycle ownership costs.

The fiberoptic system will also feature a new generation of optical sensors that will allow JIP participants to acquire full-wave (pressure and shear waves) seismic data from the seabed. By acquiring and processing full-wave data, oil and gas companies are able to develop better subsurface images that are generally higher resolution, more repeatable, and more suited to delineating subtle structural features, along with fluid type and movement.

Partnership to focus on stabilizing optical signals

The Institute of Microelectronics (IME; Singapore), a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), with Bussan Nanotech Research Institute (XNRI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. (Tokyo, Japan), are collaborating on an R&D project aimed at stabilizing optical signals in high-speed optical networks. IME and XNRI will jointly develop a device to compensate the chromatic dispersion of optical signals that causes data distortion over long distances in high-speed telecommunication.

In optical fibers, waveforms, or light signals broaden over long distances, making the signals difficult to interpret by the receiver. Chromatic dispersion in particular poses a major challenge as the effects increase nonlinearly at the rate of the square of the increased speed of the transmission; chromatic dispersion at 10 Gbit/s will be magnified by 16 times at 40 Gbit/s.

Internet growth slows in USA, Europe

According to the latest “Global Internet Geography” research report from TeleGeography (Washington, D.C.), mature Internet markets in the United States and Europe have seen relatively slow growth over the past year-just 30% to 40% (down from the 70% to 80% that many analysts have long cited). Asian backbones, however, have upgraded much more rapidly-more than 70% last year-and show no signs of slowing down.

In addition to the slower Internet growth rates in the United States and Europe, a huge portion of international fiberoptic bandwidth still goes unused, according to TeleGeography. On trans-Atlantic routes, for example, only about a quarter of currently lit capacity is actively deployed to carry voice, Internet, and corporate traffic. The remainder lies idle, either unsold or unused by service providers. According to TeleGeography, this mismatch of supply and demand could persist for several more years due to the still untapped “upgradeable” capacity of current submarine networks. - Kathy Kincade

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Also in the news…

K2 Optronics (Sunnyvale, CA), a provider of lasers for the telecommunications, cable television, RF, sensing, and test and measurement industries, secured $6.4 million as part of its first closure of a third round of venture capital financing.… Fiber-laser manufacturer Southampton Photonics (SPI; Southampton, England) appointed John Tinson as vice president of sales to lead SPI’s global sales efforts at a time when the company is extending its redPOWER fiber-laser family with a new 10-W CW/M laser module.

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