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Optical Line Interoperability Illusion

October, 2015

Although Microsoft and others have been discussing the notion of an Open Line System (OLS) to provide standardization with long-haul and metro equipment, there is little precedent for such grand notions ever coming close to being real with any technologies in the past. Naturally, large service providers are always inclined to ask for everything under the sun, including compatibility between vendors to potentially reduce their operational costs. (In responding to an RFI or RFP from the three largest incumbent carriers in the US, if a supplier does not at least say it has a plan to accommodate absolutely every request, it will immediately be eliminated from consideration.). However, despite countless successful interoperability tests that have been performed over the years, optical vendors, especially the biggest ones, at the end of the day, usually have absolutely no desire to enable...

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Coriant: Market Perils on Investment in Distressed Assets

December, 2015

There can be a fundamental problem when private equity firms buy up companies in a depressed condition in that the overwhelming desire to sell off those assets at the most favorable valuations can be in conflict with the best interests of the market, especially when the overall space is not that healthy. In the case of Coriant, it is one thing if it is a relatively quiet participant in striving to accommodate “third party [O]pen [L]ine [S]ystems” (OLSs), it is quite another to be an extremely aggressive cheerleader in order to possibly increase relatively short-term revenue, because at least on its face, it is not in the best long-term interest of the rest of the transport suppliers (as we pointed out in a recent article). While we continue to believe there will be hurdles in moving...

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Reactions to Ciena Based on Elusive Credibility Factor?

December, 2015

A recent blog article on Light Reading gets into whether the initial backlash on the Street against Ciena was justified based on the past quarterly results as well as on the projected performance of the vendor. In our opinion, and as we have discussed in the past, despite rather exemplary leadership on the technology portion of the company over the years, it has been held hostage for a very long time by management on the financial and marketing sides of the business with a shockingly insufficient amount of intimacy with the optical industry. We also believe that there is a serious tone-deafness when it comes to its interactions with the investment...

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Infinera’s PIC Challenge

January, 2016

Although Infinera has always touted its unique Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) technology as a major differentiator in the optical systems market, any advantages to this approach in the past have perhaps been totally countered by its limitations. Even today, the vendor’s ties to PICs are leading to constraints in the Data Center Interconnect (DCI) space because it appears that it prevents the development of higher-density offerings in smaller form factors, which have been enabled through the use of Acacia Communications’ 400G chip set. Also, while the necessity for 64QAM is...

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Nokia/AlcaLu Optical: Mixed Bag at Best

January, 2016

While an alternate universe continues to exist regarding discussion over radical changes and transformations occurring in the datacom/telecom realm, the number of genuinely major new fiber optic projects in 2016, may easily be few and far between across the globe. Nonetheless, Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent is evidently a major beneficiary of an especially aggressive large Data Center Interconnect (DCI) deployment at a highly prestigious enterprise company. At the same time, there are obvious indications that the “Nokia” ownership of the extensive optical product line has already resulted in adverse consequences. Last August, we wrote, “…Nokia’s purchase of Alcatel-Lucent means that Ciena’s position particularly in the US market has been strengthened (at least one big carrier...

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