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OFC Reporter's Notebook 3

March 26, 2009

Posted by Stephen Hardy

I can tell it's the second day of exhibits by the fact that my handwriting has gotten appreciably more difficult to read. The over/under on the time at which my brain completes its transformation to cottage cheese has been set at 2:41 PM on Thursday.


  • The folks at EXFO are very happy with the reception of some of their new products, in particular their FTB-5600 Distributed PMD Analyzer that measures PMD in a manner reminiscent of an OTDR. However, given the current economic environment, there are a significant number of potential customers who would like access to the capabilities but can't afford to buy the box. EXFO is currently contemplating how to address this issue. The impression I got was that they're leaning towards enabling some sort of test service offering, either directly or through partners. It's all part of a new corporate strategy that I'm guessing we'll see roll out later this year.
  • If you're feeling nostalgic for iolon's old MEMS-based tunable laser, Luna Technologies will sell you one--or more than one, since they've set a minimum lot size for the device, which they acquired from Coherent. Meanwhile, they've incorporated the laser into a line of tunable light sources with very fast sweep rates, with the Phoenix 1200 the most recent (and most compact) example.
  • In discussions regarding ADVA's announcement of a phase-based modulation format as an alternative to the dual-polarization QPSK the OIF favors for 100G, there seems to be concensus on the show floor that the long haul and metro will indeed see the application of different modulation schemes, at least initially.
  • Harry Bosco, who will move from president and CEO of Opnext to chairman at the end of the month, suggests the company could take the opportunity provided by the downturn to do a bit of vertical integration via M&A.;
  • Oh yeah -- I'm doing videos, too.


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OFC Reporter's Notebook 2

March 24, 2009

Posted by Stephen Hardy

Here's a look at what people told me today:

  • JDSU introduced its tunable XFP, based on its integrated laser and Mach-Zehnder (ILMZ) modulator. The ILMZ is packaged in a special TOSA. The device also features a JDSU-designed controller ASIC. In addition to the module, a JDSU spokesman said the company will offer the TOSA and ASIC as separate products.
  • EMCORE also unveiled plans for a tunable XFP. However, ExceLight Communications, the US arm of Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI), thinks there will still be demand for the tunable XFP-E it has on display. The XFP-E will be a more capable replacement for very high performance 300-pin transceivers than your average XFP, said SEI staffers at the booth. Replied a JDSU spokesman, it sounds like SEI is targeting ultra-long-haul applications -- and if SEI thinks they can make a living off of those applications, good luck to them.
  • Execs at Ignis Photonyx, which makes WDM-PON subsystems (among other things), foresee strong pull from business service applications for WDM-PON.
  • AMCC's extremely flexible Yahara 10GbE framer/mapper/PHY can be used in metro packet optical transport platforms as well as 100G applications. But AMCC sources said they'd need to develop new chips to meet the requirements of the long-haul packet optical transport platform Verizon is talking up.
  • At a press luncheon, University of Minnesota Andrew Odlyzko suggested that the current "bandwidth is growing at 50% annually" rule of thumb could be overshooting the mark by about 15% if you're talking worldwide figures.
  • OFS is now in the splicer and optical components business, thanks to a North American reorganization its parent, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., has initiated. OFS will now market pump lasers, signal lasers, connector parts, and other components, as well as the fusion splicers, under the Fitel name. In addition to publicizing a tunable dispersion compensator, OFS also highlighted a reconfigurable dispersion compensation module, which comprises multiple lengths of dispersion compensating fiber and a small switch.
  • They're hiring in the market research space. Andrew Schmitt has shut down Nyquist Capital (where he authored one of the more interesting blogs in the space) to join Infonetics Research as directing analyst for optical. Meanwhile, LightCounting has hired Brad Smith as senior VP. Smith will be responsible for the development of LightCounting's new market coverage in transceiver-related semiconductor and optical markets and for managing the company's consulting operations.


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Posted by Stephen Hardy

With all due modesty, the OSA/Lightwave Executive Forum was the place to be on the first day of OFC/NFOEC week. In addition to Verizon's pitch for a long-haul packet optical transport platform, the day featured several interesting tidbits:

  • What's the killer app? Keynoter Surya Panditi, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Access and Transport Technology Group, touted video. However, Steve Carlton, VP of planning and product management at Fujitsu Network Communications, suggested that applications such as medical imaging, which require terabits of capacity at a time, will have an even greater impact. But closer to home, Joseph Huggins, director, access and transport technology management at Qwest, said not to forget about online gaming.
  • Kou Miyake, director, NTT Service Integration Laboratories, revealed that it will take 20 million subscribers for NTT to make money with its FTTH services. The company hopes to reach that figure by the end of fiscal 2010.
  • Vik Saxena, senior director, network architecture, office of the CTO at Comcast Cable, said his company would deploy 100GbE technology today if it were available, driven more by operational efficiencies than pure bandwidth demand. However, Verizon's Elby said he expects that it will take two or three generations of 100G technology development before the technology meets the necessary price points for wide acceptance.
  • Despite a darker economic environment than at this time in 2008, the Component Vendors panelists weren't nearly as cranky as they were last year. A wag in the audience suggested that's because they were in shock. However, I think that last year, component execs felt that they hadn't derived the rewards they thought were due them from a rebounded market. In the current environment, depressed margins and company valuations make more sense.
  • Along these lines, Source Photonics chief Near Margalit suggested that a significant percentage of optical components vendors should get used to the idea that their margins will never exceed 25%.
  • The panelists on our M&A; panel don't expect a big play along the lines of the Finisar/Optium merger this year. With credit tight, cash will be precious -- and won't be spent without an extremely good reason. That said, private companies' expected valuations appear to be going down to increasingly tempting levels. But no one is interested in buying market share. Acquisitions must increase product breadth or meet some other strategic objective.

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Posted by Stephen Hardy

If I may be allowed a digression from the usual line of conversation in this space, it is my honor to announce that Senior Editor Meghan Fuller Hanna gave birth last night to the Red Sox' 2027 first round draft choice. John "Trip" Hanna III entered the world at 9:34 PM weighing 5 lbs and measuring 18 inches. (I'm assuming that's head to toe.)

Now it just so happens that yesterday was my birthday as well. Is the timing of Trip's birth a coincidence in light of the fact that, in addition to Trip, Meghan also delivered a partially finished Tech Trends article for our April issue that I'm now on the hook to complete? You decide.

Needless to say, you won't see Meghan at OFC/NFOEC in a couple of weeks. Sadly, you also won't see her byline here on the site or in the magazine for a few months. Our expectation is that she'll have time for us again in June -- assuming she's not too busy hitting grounders to #1 Son.

We'll have pics when they're available. In the meantime, please join me in congratulating Meghan on her new product introduction.

Blogger john_v said...
Congratulations Meghan!!!
Thursday, March 12, 2009 4:53:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Brianna said...
That's great news! Congratulations Meghan!
Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:00:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Shailesh said...
Congratulations Meghan....Am I supposed to say " many More" !!
Friday, March 13, 2009 3:51:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Tina Bryant said...
Congratulations Meghan!!
Monday, March 16, 2009 8:02:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Sue Edelman said...
Congrats, Meghan! Hope you and Trip are doing well. And way to suck up to the boss by delivering on his birthday. You know all the right moves! :-)
Thursday, March 19, 2009 10:42:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Kurt Steinert said...
Best excuse yet for skipping a trade show! Congratulations!!
Sunday, March 22, 2009 9:40:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Hojjati said...
Sunday, April 26, 2009 2:41:00 AM EDT  

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Posted by Stephen Hardy

A year after debuting its "OTN in a module" concept at OFC/NFOEC 2008, Menara Networks plans to use this year's event to highlight its electronic dispersion compensation (EDC) technology, company founder, president, and CEO Siraj Nour ElAhmadi told me earlier this week.

ElAhmadi says that the company has garnered six design wins for its upcoming XFP device, which he expects will reach general availability in either the second or third quarter of this year. Like Menara Network's other 10G modules, the XFPs leverage the company's ASIC technology to incorporate the electronic functions required to support OTN capabilities within the transceiver, rather than on the board.

Menara Networks produces devices for both long-haul and short-reach applications. The long-haul market was the first target; the company successfully completed a 1300-km trial in Sweden, ElAhmadi says. However, the company also sees interest in its technology for intra-CO applications, which are normally dark spots for OTN-based network management. He sees a role for Menara Networks' technology for OTN-based service demarcation as well.

Both switch/router vendors and telecom equipment developers are working with the Menara Networks' modules, ElAhmadi reveals. The company also has seen interest from service providers, including cable companies, he adds.

In addition to fully implementing its EDC technology, Menara Networks also has full C-Band tunability on its development roadmap. ElAhmadi hopes to have both capabilities available sometime next year.

But perhaps the company's most noteworthy achievement was landing third-round funding last November. ElAhmadi terms the pursuit "extremely difficult -- we were lucky." He says this round should take the company through break even or cash positive.

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The Lightwave editorial staff uses The Lightwave Blog to share their thoughts on optical communications and whatever else might be the current topic of conversation from cubicle to cubicle. Feel free to add your own opinions.

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave, which makes him responsible for the editorial aspects of the Lightwave franchise. A technology journalist since 1982, he once had his job duties described as "gets paid to tick off advertisers ".

Meghan Fuller is senior editor of Lightwave. She has degrees from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and the University of Delaware and is a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation.