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Friday
Feb152019

Richard Wilson

An important part of my career as a journalist was spent at the UK newspaper, Electronics Weekly.

The editor at the time was Richard Wilson. For several years I sat opposite him; despite having an office, Richard worked with us all. It was an exciting time to be covering the chip industry and we all worked hard. Richard was a wonderful boss and a great conversationalist.

I remember his joy the day after the Labour Party won the UK election in 1997 and he described how he had not slept watching the results come in (and the following day was a news day!)

He was a lovely, gentle man. I often wondered what he was doing at Electronics Weekly. He was a talented journalist and loved the complexities of the electronics industry but he had many interests and talents that were not given expression in that environment.

Electronics Weekly wasn’t always an easy workplace but I look back at those years and think it was the most vibrant place I’ve worked at. The place was filled with characters and Richard added to the pleasure of being there.

I think of Richard with huge fondness and am grateful to have known him. I last saw him in 2003 but despite the elapsed time, I feel his loss deeply.

Tuesday
Feb052019

A voyage around work

The first in a series looking at the experience of work in 2019.

Source: Mark Seery

To land your ideal job, the suggestion is first to find your passion. Indeed, one college in the US promises to guide its students to find their life purpose by teaching them three things: what they are good at, what they are passionate about, and what the world needs.

Assuming you are lucky enough to align all three elements, challenges are still likely. How do you maintain a work-life balance? And what happens over time when, despite having fulfilling, challenging work, part of your creative self remains untapped?

This has been the experience of Mark Seery (pictured below), who was a senior staff member at Juniper Networks, responsible for helping shape the networking company’s strategy.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan182019

Kim Roberts: The 2019 John Tyndall Award winner

A Profile

A conceptualiser, mathematician, furniture maker, prolific inventor, sushi lover, creative spirit, team leader and mentor. These are just some of the descriptors applied to Kim Roberts of Ciena by the people that know him. 

Kim Roberts of Ciena. On the wall are some of his 160 patents while on the screen is an image of a 32-point constellation produced by the WaveLogic Ai coherent modem. Source: Ciena.

Roberts has been awarded the 2019 John Tyndall Award by The Optical Society (OSA) and the IEEE Photonics Society in recognition of his “pioneering contributions to the development of practical coherent communication systems”.

“It is well deserved,” says Seb Savory, who first knew Roberts when they both worked at Nortel and who is now an academic at the University of Cambridge working on joint projects with Ciena. Ciena acquired Nortel in 2010.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan162019

Access drives a need for 10G compact aggregation boxes

Infinera has unveiled a platform to aggregate multiple 10-gigabit traffic streams originating in the access network. 

The 1.6-terabit HDEA 1600G platform is designed to aggregate 80, 10-gigabit wavelengths. The use of ten-gigabit wavelengths in access continues to grow with the advent of 5G mobile backhaul and developments in cable and passive optical networking (PON).


A distributed access architecture being embraced by cable operators. Shown are the remote PHY device (RPD) or remote MAC-PHY device (RMD), functionality moved out of the secondary hub and closer to the end user. Also shown is how DWDM technology is moved closer to the edge of the network. Source: Infinera.

Infinera has adopted a novel mechanical design for its 1 rack unit (1RU) HDEA 1600G that uses the sides of the platform to fit 80 SFP+ optical modules. 

The platform also features an Ethernet switch chip that aggregates the traffic from the 10-gigabit streams to fill 100-gigabit wavelengths that are passed to other switching or transport platforms for transmission into the network.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec302018

Books in 2018 - Part 3

More books read in 2018, as recommended by Steve Alexander and Yves LeMaitre.

Steve Alexander, senior vice president and CTO, Ciena 

I was standing in line at a Starbucks and was chatting with another person who asked what all these engineers were doing talking about networks of submarines. In fact, it was a nearby conference on submarine cables. The person said: “I thought that’s what satellites were for”.

I wanted to find a book I could point people to who think that satellites carry most of the international traffic when, in fact, it is the fibre-optic submarine cables that carry the vast majority of the world’s communications. I came up with The Undersea Network by Nicole Starosielski.

Our industry does such a good job at this that most people don’t even know such networks exist. It is like air; it is there and it works.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec252018

Acacia eyes pluggables as it demos its AC1200 module  

The emerging market opportunity for pluggable coherent modules is causing companies to change their strategies. 

Ciena is developing and plans to sell its own coherent modules. And now Acacia Communications, the coherent technology specialist, says it is considering changing its near-term coherent digital signal processor (DSP) roadmap to focus on coherent pluggables for data centre interconnect and metro applications. 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec202018

Interview: Finisar’s CEO reflects on a notable year 

Michael Hurlston has had an eventful 2018. 

The year started with him replacing Finisar’s veteran CEO, Jerry Rawls, and it is now ending with Finisar being acquired by the firm II-VI for $3.2 billion.

Michael Hurlston

Finisar is Hurlston’s first experience in the optical component industry, having spent his career in semiconductors. One year in and he already has strong views about the industry and its direction.

“We have seen in the semiconductor industry a period of massive consolidation in the last three to four years,” says Hurlston, in his first interview sinced the deal was announced. “I think it is not that different in optics: scales matters.”    

Hurlston says that, right from the start, he recognised the need to drive industry consolidation. “We had started thinking about that fairly deeply at the time the Lumentum-Oclaro acquisition was announced and that gave us more impetus to look at this,” says Hurlston. The result was revealed in November with the announced acquisition of Finisar by II-VI.

Click to read more ...