Marconi ventures into soliton management
Marconi Communications (Warrendale, PA) has launched a UK-based venture called Marconi Solstis, which will specialize in R&D to develop ultrahigh-speed optical networks with an emphasis on dispersion-managed solitons. Dispersion management is the combination of positive and negative dispersion fibers such that the dispersion alternates sign locally. The concept, while similar to dispersion compensation, differs in the emphasis the fiber dispersion being manipulated deliberately to optimize the transmission line. According to Nick Doran, who heads the firm, Solstis aims to develop new systems capable of transmission speeds in excess of 1Tbit/s over thousands of kilometers, which would eliminate the current need for high-cost regeneration of the optical signals. Doran and colleagues pioneered the concept of dispersion-managed solitons while working at Aston University in England.
Nortel Networks will acquire Web switching company
Nortel Networks Corp. (Brampton, Ontario, Canada) has inked a $7.2 billion agreement to acquire Alteon WebSystems Inc. (San Jose, CA), which produces switches that direct user requests on Web sites such as Yahoo! to the server that will provide the quickest response. Nortel plans to integrate these switching products with its storage, gigabit switches, services, hosted application management/delivery, and caching technology. The deal positions the network-equipment supplier to integrate Internet data centers with high-speed optical and 3-GHz wireless networks.
ADC Ventures invests in Northstar Photonics startup
ADC Ventures, the investment arm of ADC (Minneapolis, MN), has invested in Northstar Photonics (Minneapolis, MN), a startup company focused on the development of laser-based optical devices to support fiberoptic telecommunications networks by increasing speed and system bandwidth. This investment is part of Northstar's recently closed round of financing totaling $8.5 million, which also included investments by CIT Venture Capital (New York, NY) and Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA). The devices are designed to provide greater wavelength stability, higher output power, and reduced environmental control complexity than conventional semiconductor lasers.
Lucent plans spinoff IPO in 2001
As part of a plan to spin off its $4 billion microelectronics business, which includes the optoelectronics and integrated-circuit divisions, Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) is planning an initial public offering (IPO) for up to 20% of the new company in the first calendar quarter of 2001. The firm expects to spin off the remaining shares in a tax-free distribution by next summer. In other corporate news, Lucent's venture-capital arm is among the private investors that recently helped Israeli fiberoptics startup Lambda Crossing raise $7 million in new capital.
Sumitomo Electric Industries spins off its electro-optics product group
Sumitomo Electric Industries has spun off its electro-optic products group from Sumitomo Electric Lightwave (Research Triangle Park, NC) into a separate company called ExceLight Communications Inc. The wholly owned subsidiary will provide high-performance active and passive optical components and subsystems for public and private networking. The product lines will include 1480-nm pump lasers for fiber amplifiers, DWDM signal lasers, photodiodes, and data links for SONET/SDH, ATM, and gigabit Ethernet applications.
Also in the news . . .
Michael Ettenberg, corporate senior vice president of Sarnoff Corp. (Princeton, NJ), has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, in part because of his role in the development of practical semiconductor lasers for telecommunications. . . . Oplink Communications Inc. (San Jose, CA), which manufactures fiberoptic components and optical modules, has filed to raise $172.5 million in an IPO.
Paula Noaker Powell
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