FIBER OPTICS INDUSTRY REPORT

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Sun Microsystems (Santa Clara, CA) $44.29 million for a five-and-a-half-year research project focused on microchip interconnectivity via on-chip optical networks enabled by silicon photonics and proximity communication.

May 1st, 2008

Sun Microsystems wins on-chip contract

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Sun Microsystems (Santa Clara, CA) $44.29 million for a five-and-a-half-year research project focused on microchip interconnectivity via on-chip optical networks enabled by silicon photonics and proximity communication. Sun will develop supercomputers through interconnecting an array of low-cost chips, with the potential to overcome the fundamental cost and performance limits of scaling up today’s large computer systems. “Optical communications could be a truly game-changing technology, an elegant way to continue impressive performance gains while completely changing the economics of large-scale silicon production,” said Greg Papadopoulos, CTO and executive vice president of R&D.

Networking market reaches new high

Market analysis firm Ovum (London, England) said preliminary quarterly results show that the global optical networking market reached a new post-2001 high of $4.4 billion in 4Q07, for a 16% sequential and 30% year-over-year gain. “The blockbuster results for 4Q07, led by Alcatel-Lucent’s and Huawei’s never-before-seen $1 billion and $800 million revenue postings, respectively, pushed annual spending to $15 billion,” said Dana Cooperson, vice president. Spending on next-generation multiservice synchronous digital hierarchy/synchronous optical network (SDH/SONET) gear rose to a new post-bubble high of nearly $1.9 billion for the quarter versus a new high of $0.9 billion for metro dense-wavelength division multiplexing. “Contrary to popular myth that has Ethernet delivering a swift and decisive death blow to SDH/SONET, a range of applications will continue to exist for SONET/SDH-based devices in evolving networks,” said Cooperson.

Active fiber cables replace copper

Zarlink Semiconductor (Ottawa, ON, Canada) is the first vendor to support volume production of active optical cables for data-center and computer-cluster interconnect applications and has shipped more than 10,000 cables to a range of select customers, including major data center operators as well as InfiniBand and Ethernet switch vendors and system integrators. The cables offer significant weight, flexibility, and reach advantages to improve airflow, eliminate layout concerns, and reduce installation time and costs versus copper-based solutions.

Nistica and Finisar partner on ROADMs

Finisar (Sunnyvale, CA), a provider of fiber-optic solutions for high-speed networks, and Nistica (Bridgewater, NJ), a supplier of agile optical modules, announced a partnership to provide FLEDGE reconfigurable add/drop optical multiplexers (ROADMs) to telecom system companies in Europe, China, and North America utilizing Finisar’s global sales channels. In a separate announcement by Nistica, Finisar participated in a $9 million Series B funding round for the 3-year-old New Jersey company. This strategic investment by Finisar, the company says, affirms its commitment to providing leading-edge technology for an evolving optical communications market.

RED-C and Proximion cooperate on EDFAs

RED-C Optical Networks (San Francisco, CA) and Proximion (Kista, Sweden) announced their cooperation in promoting an erbium-doped fiber-amplifier (EDFA) design optimized to take advantage of the unique properties of dispersion-compensation module (DCM) technology. The companies say that DCM technology based on fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) offers reduced insertion loss, negligible optical delay, and high optical power tolerance. EDFAs offer cost savings and reduced footprint and provide performance advantages with respect to noise figure and transient suppression. Proximion’s FBG-based DCM solutions combined with RED-C’s amplifier designs should further improve cost/performance ratios.

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Also in the news . . .

The Institut für Strahlwerkzeuge Universität Stuttgart (Stuttgart, Germany) started the operation of its new fiber drawing tower and a modified chemical-vapor-deposition preform lathe as part of its fiber-drawing facility, financed half by federal and half by state funds, and also supported by the university building authority. . . . Corning (Corning, NY) and the OSA Foundation (Washington, D.C.) announced that Frederik Van Laere, Ghent University-IMEC (Leuven, Belgium), won top honors in the inaugural Corning Outstanding Student Paper Award Competition for optical communications for his paper, “Multifunctional Photonic Crystal Compact Demux-Detector on InP”. . . . Photonic communications company Lumera (Bothell, WA) received a contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory valued at approximately $2.2 million to fabricate low-drive-voltage electro-optic modulators using Lumera’s organic polymers. . . . Market research firm Information Gatekeepers (IGI; Boston, MA) released its latest report in the Lightwave Series, ROADMs – From the Core to the Edge.

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