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Optical PAM-4 Restricted to 500 Meters?

April, 2015

Our company is always inclined to look towards historical precedent for guidance, and electronics have continually been leveraged throughout the years to bail out optics, such as with its imperfections including nonlinearities, as well as with its cost in enabling greater simplification. So, our initial response would be to look in favor towards a solution like DSP-based PAM -4 for that relatively small segment of the data center market, which is gradually moving to higher data rates using single-mode fiber. Nevertheless, although these optics are being advertised to reach as long as two kilometers, it appears that technical restrictions could confine it to only a quarter of that length. The biggest advantage of using the sophisticated electronics in PAM-4 is that it allows for fewer lasers. Consequently, it facilitates the use of a less complicated optical...

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Avago’s Spinoff of Optics in Short Term?

August, 2015

While for now, Avago Technologies will be preoccupied with the immense and time-consuming effort of its integration process with Broadcom, not too long afterwards, it would not be surprising if there would be a spin-off that would include a large number of the combined company’s optical networking assets. The progressive shift from a technology-focused firm to one that is more business-oriented should inevitably go beyond just making further sizable acquisitions, but to improve the balance sheet through aggressive divestment. Although KKR does not hold a stake in Avago anymore, we believe the supplier has been heavily influenced by the private equity firm’s modus operandi – purchase assets, find value, package parts, and sell off. One may easily presume that calling the merger, “Broadcom” instead of “Avago” probably has significance for its future technology...

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Inphi a Threat to InnoLight or Kaiam?

August, 2015

Once again, we have a natural affinity for the proposition of taking advantage of electronics, such as higher order modulation, to better enable optics by squeezing more data onto a single wavelength. However, by the time, Inphi is ready to ramp up production fully on its four-level pulse amplitude modulation devices, both InnoLight Technology and Kaiam will have sold a large quantity of their optical-centric componentry to both hyperscale Data Center (DC) operators as well as to OEM providers. Hopefully, within this time, Kaiam will have joined its direct competitor in filing for an IPO (assuming a certain amount of stabilization in the stock market) by stressing the former, sexier types of customers, “Google Plus,” forgive the pun. So, in effect, to whatever extent Inphi has...

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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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Microsoft's Enduring Google Envy

April, 2016

Quite a few articles have been written over time about the jealousy suffered by Microsoft over Alphabet’s Google, but they have not really addressed that the same dynamic exists in the optics realm. One cannot help but discern the palpable pain caused by the dominant search engine provider to the software giant in having a bigger fiber optic network despite the latter starting its construction on its infrastructure in general about two decades earlier. Most interestingly, the characterizations of leaving Google (as well as others) in the “digital drone dust” or offering “dramatic new ways of running big data applications,” as it relates to...

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