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Big Need for MPLS-TP?

August, 2014

At the service providers across the globe, the most widespread and native selection is MPLS and not MPLS-TP. The former has broader acceptance, superior interoperability, and operational intimacy for the engineering folks. In Asia, particularly China, MPLS-TP has taken off in a big way. While some industry observers view that part of the world as exceptionally unpredictable and may suggest that “TP” could even be replaced, it seems that at least one of the large Chinese operators has such a critical mass of deployment that such a move is not imaginable. On its face, one would think customers should want to go with MPLS-TP over MPLS because the former is a newer version. Ordinarily, any supplier that would happen to start product development from scratch would definitely be inclined to begin in the “TP” direction. Theoretically,...

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25G Laser Shortage

August, 2014

We have been told that there is going to be a worldwide shortage of 25G lasers in the coming two years, supposedly due to not enough capacity having been planned by the industry as a whole.  We hadn’t heard anything like this before.  Do you guys know if this is true, and if so, why it happened? A couple of our contacts indicate that supply is down because of unexpected demand by a few data center operators as well as a greater need for customized optics, and that 25G lasers have inherently lower manufacturing yields than is the case, say with 10G devices. Specifically, the 25G DMLs are in short supply, not the EML devices. However, the EMLs are very expensive, especially for short-distance applications. There is also apprehension that expanding production will create a long-term overcapacity situation, once the market gets...

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A Kaiam Strategic Partner: Google?

September, 2014

Concerning the recent $35 million announcement by Kaiam of equity funding, our intelligence indicates that one of the two strategic partners is Google. We also think the other partner is Microsoft. In addition, we believe that the total valuation is two to three times revenue -- so over $70 million. While Kaiam has clever packaging, we are not convinced that it has the lowest cost in the market. Nevertheless, the supplier has benefited from getting out there early in the data center/datacom space. It is likely that it owns the 10x10 business in that sector. Unquestionably, signs of two giant enterprise firm funding Kaiam may be about ensuring direct access to unique 100G technology. Perhaps it is the vendor’s Hybrid Mixer PLC – and/or maybe something else that could possibly be on the drawing board that involves a coherent, serial 100G device. More practically...

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Convoluted 20/80 Rule in Data Center Optics

April, 2015

Actually, it is probably a lot closer to a 90/10 relationship in which there is unbelievable amount of attention given to high-end optical development spurred on by a small number of mega-Data Center (DC) operators, which may not represent much higher than 10 percent of the total DC infrastructure market. At least the dot-com bubble initially came about with a legitimate bandwidth driver – the Internet. This time we have a cloud bubble based on relatively limited volume being promoted by a tiny minority of people in the industry with a vested interest including from small optical component vendors – of course, in some cases, being funded by those large end-users. The hype surrounds the new cloud model supposedly being a game changer, and that it will result in a ramping up to higher optical speeds quickly in the next few years. There is also the assertion that the...

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Ciena Probably Overpaying for Cyan

May, 2015

A prima facie case can be made that the $400 million price tag on Cyan is out of line. In effect, Ciena should have problems justifying it is worth at almost half as much as Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks business (adjusted for inflation) and about four times Cyan’s revenues in 2014 – in an optical environment in which it has been recently difficult sometimes to command even 1x sales on an acquisition. Also, with the prospects for SDN in the public network space increasingly getting dimmer, the purchase at a premium is even more of a head scratcher. With the exception of the buyouts of the Nortel assets (a necessity to keep revenues up sufficiently) and the pickup of Lightera Networks, which led to the successful CoreDirector (a steal at the 1999 price of a little over $450 million), Ciena has in general not had a good track record on buyouts of companies. Since its...

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