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Posted by Stephen Hardy

As reported by Morgan Keegan's Paul Bonenfant, Opnext President and CEO Harry Bosco yesterday morning told the audience at Cowen and Company's 20/20 TMT Conference in New York that the reason he hasn't executed a previously announced stock buy back is that he's "looking at different things" now that the acquisition price for companies has come down. In particular, he said, he's looking at high-end optics, specifically 40G and 100G module and technology companies. "Some are small and some are fairly significant," he said.

Bonenfant identified Mintera and StrataLight as the two most prominent companies of interest. He believes a StrataLight acquisition is more likely, given the fact that JDSU has invested in Mintera. The fact that StrataLight supplies technology to Nokia Siemens Networks, as does Opnext, doesn't hurt either.

One company that Bonenfant didn't mention that Opnext also might be looking at is CoreOptics. The company is already active in 40G development as well as coherent detection technology for 100G. (See my May 15 blog posting below.) The fact that the OIF has decided to build its 100G DWDM implentation agreement around dual-polarization quadrature phase-shift keying with coherent detection indicates that CoreOptics is moving in the right direction for 100G.

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Blogger Xuelong said...
Why not TeraXion?
Friday, May 30, 2008 10:09:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Light Wave Blog said...
TeraXion would be useful, in that they'd receive tunable optical dispersion compensation technology that could be applied to 40G and 100G. However, Opnext would still be missing the 100G modulation and receiver technology, so TeraXion by itself wouldn't be enough. CoreOptics would give them the dispersion compensation (through MLSE-2), plus the dual-pol QPSK transmitter technology (I just confirmed this) and the coherent receiver technology. -- Stephen
Monday, June 2, 2008 4:38:00 PM EDT  

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Posted by Stephen Hardy

As yesterday's funding announcement pointed out, CoreOptics plans to use part of its $25 million capital influx on new product development. In the short term, that means 40G technology; according to CoreOptics VP of Global Sales, Marketing and Business Development Saeid Aramedeh, a new IC is expected to be announced in the next few weeks, to be followed by the second half of next year by a 40G transponder. A 100G product will follow. The trick for CoreOptics, he says, is timing the 100G introduction in time to meet market requirements without killing the 40G offering's prospects.

The company plans to pair its MLSE-2 electronic dispersion compensation technology -- yes, it's based on maximum likelihood sequence estimation and it's the company's second version of the technology -- with coherent optical receiver/detection formats. (Coherent receiver technology also is being used by Discovery Semiconductor and Nortel, the latter pairing it with dual-polarization quadrature phase-shift keying.)

CoreOptics already offers 40G technology -- it was designed into the platforms Marconi (now part of Ericsson) sold to Deutsche Telekom -- but this part of the company's business represents only about 10% of sales. Aramedeh naturally expects this to grow, albeit slowly.

"Personally, I don't see this happening over the next six months or 12 months. It's probably more of a two-year journey before we see 40G in mass deployment from our perspective," he says.

Which brings us to the dilemma 100G poses. "Certainly if you look at the architecture of 100-gig, it has much promise for being more cost-effective than any 40-gig solution," Aramedeh explains. "So the question becomes if we were to expedite 100-gig delivery, would that make sense and then 40-gig would have a shorter life or never go into mass deployment."

A short tenure for 40G would pose a problem for CoreOptics, Aramedeh implied. "When we look at technologies that are needed to make 100-gig a reality, electronic dispersion compensation is definitely a part of that. And for us, the technology roadmap to support 100 gig goes through 40 -- we have to do 40 and 40 coherent to get the learnings from the experience before we can confidently say what architecture we could implement for 100-gig transmission," he explains.

For now, Aramedeh thinks he'll have enough time with 40G to get 100G right. "From a timing perspective, certainly we don't see that [100G] as an immediate need. And the market is divided on that," he admits. "You talk to some folks and they say, 'You need to go into trials the end of next year.' But for volume ramp, we certainly don't see it before 2011 or 2012."

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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.