The Guts of the CFP2

August, 2014

For the next generation of 100G coherent line interface form factor CFP2, will it be a split implementation -- analog CFP2 and separate digital DSP ASIC for the card? Can both parts be integrated into the single package? As far as we know, it will be split. While today, there is one 100G on a card, etc., with CFP2, there will be at least two on a board. There is no question that it would be desirable to use the same DSP for both. However, the industry has gone back to the 1990s in which 100G customers, such as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, etc., each have their own DSP, and they believe that to be their secret sauce -- and that is why the DSP is coming out of separate packages. (written by: Alka Swanson)

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Cisco: Buyer of Potential Finisar-JDSU Combo?

December, 2014

If Finisar purchases JDSU’s CCOP division, would a systems integrator be interested in buying the combination? Unquestionably, there have been rumors in the past that Cisco Systems would buy Finisar, which with CCOP, would make Cisco’s previous component acquisitions pale in comparison in terms of cornering the market. Moreover, the full system supplier has been Finisar’s biggest customer for a long time. There is a school of thought that when Cisco decided to cease having a distinct transport business unit, it was making a statement that optics stopped being an end in itself – it was really a means to an end. While selling optical network gear remains part of its general strategy, its principal purpose is supposedly to tie routers and...

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Intel's Credibility Problem with Optics?

June, 2015

While the hype machine on the latest and greatest technology always reigns supreme in the fiber optics market, Intel appeared to take Silicon Photonics (SP) to an unprecedented level for an extremely long period of time. Just the sheer amount of money spent by the supplier, specifically the Silicon Photonics Solutions Group’s (SPSG) promotional efforts, including the use of professional graphics artists for its presentations, was remarkable in not only helping to convince certain potential customers of the viability of these solutions, but it likely cannot be ruled out that the funds played a role in misleading high-level executives at the supplier in exaggerating progress. It remains to be seen what the long-term effects will be on Intel’s credibility of not coming through on the promised deliveries of these devices several months ago, especially as the vendor has somewhat...

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Ciena’s New Obsession with Vertical Integration

February, 2016

Ciena’s purchase of several assets from TeraXion represents the first time that the system player has acquired just components as opposed to full systems from an outside vendor, symbolizing an evolving shift in philosophy over the last several years away from less of a reliance on merchant componentry suppliers to more internal development and construction. While large optical vendors in general have somewhat adopted vertical integration strategies as the market has moved to 100G and coherent technology, there seems to be a particularly higher degree of emphasis by Ciena on the practice in recent years, especially relating to added functionality on a chip set, which was apparently influenced by the purchase of the Nortel...

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Silicon Photonics’ Shift: Still Cost/Loss Issues

March, 2016

The lead article in the September 1969 issue of the Bell System Technical Journal was written by Stewart E. Miller, entitled “Integrated Optics: An Introduction,” which framed “a proposal for a miniature laser beam circuitry" along with the promise of “economy should ultimately result.” Close to a half of a century later, even with a severe bastardization of the original definition in recent times, as the electronics have been excluded from the chip (even Luxtera had to abandon its vision of “CMOS photonics” at 100-gig), challenges remain with expensive cost along with poor performance. While perhaps the best way to characterize Silicon Photonics (SP) today is the use of a continuous wave light source and a modulator in Si, as opposed to...

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