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Another Savior of Data Center MM Fiber?

January, 2015

In addition to the development of longer-distance and higher-speed VCSELs, there is a possibility that in the long term, polymer waveguide material embedded in electronics could also help to extend the life of multimode fiber in data centers. Yet right now, the technology appears to be reminiscent of the use of silicon photonics with active components, but without the hype. As with SI photonics, the concept of these types of waveguides has been discussed for many years with the problem of loss being a major concern, and right now, the vast majority of dialog on the latter can be found almost exclusively in engineering papers and patent applications. An exception has been Dow Corning, which has for a while been making somewhat of a marketing push, such as at trade shows with its short-reach interconnects utilizing “low loss,” silicone-based polymer waveguides. Back in early...

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Avago/Emulex/Broadcom: Storage Target; Impact on Finisar

May, 2015

With the acquisitions of Emulex and Broadcom, Avago Technologies is clearly shifting more of its focus from the less appealing optical components space to the very attractive storage business. Not only does the market size of the latter substantially dwarf that of the former, the storage companies went from way too many players in the 1990s, to an ample state of consolidation – with both hardware drive producers, Seagate and Western Digital, currently dominating in terms of revenue. While this state of affairs may be threatened with media’s changeover to solid-state drives, at least the optic componentry firms had a prominent business model that was well established last decade that they could have adopted. There cannot be a lot of optimism that the ridiculous lack of rationalization in optics will change anytime soon. With capital being provided by large end-users for...

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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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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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