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Silicon Photonics

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To efficiency and beyond

Briefing:  Dynamic optical networks

Part 3: ROADM and control plane developments

ROADMs and control plane technology look set to finally deliver reconfigurable optical networks but challenges remain.

Operators are assessing how best to architect their networks - from the router to the optical layer - to boost efficiencies and reduce costs.  It is developments at the photonic layer that promise to make the most telling contribution to lowering the cost of transport, a necessity given how the revenue-per-bit that carriers receive continues to dwindle.


Global ROADM forecast 2009 -14 in US $ miliions Source: Ovum

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Reflecting light to save power 

CIP Technologies is bringing its reflective component expertise to an EU-funded project to reduce the power consumption of optical systems.  

System vendors will be held increasingly responsible for the power consumption of their telecom and datacom platforms. That’s because for each watt the equipment generates, up to six watts is required for cooling. It is a burden that will only get heavier given the relentless growth in network traffic.


"Enterprises are looking for huge capacity at low cost and are increasingly concerned about the overall impact on power consumption"

David Smith, CIP Technologies

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BroadLight’s GPON ICs: from packets to apps

What is being announced?

BroadLight has announced its Lilac family of customer premise equipment (CPE) chips that support the Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) standard.

The company claims its GPON devices with be the first to be implemented using a 40nm CMOS process. The advanced CMOS process coupled with architectural enhancements will double processing performance while improving five-fold the packet-processing capability.  The devices also come with a hardware abstraction layer that will help system vendors tailor their equipment.


"Traffic models and service models are not stable, and there are a lot of differences from carrier to carrier"

Didi Ivancovsky, BroadLight




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ROADMS: When "-less" is more

The telecom industry is right up there when it comes to acronyms and complex naming schemes but it is probably no worse than other industries.

One only has to look at neighbouring IT and cloud computing in particular with its PaaS, IaaS and SaaS (Platform-, Infrastructure- and Software-as-a-Service).

But when it comes to agile optical networking and the reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM), what is notable is the smarts that are being added and yet all are described using the “-less” suffix: colourless, directionless, contentionless and gridless.

These are all logical names once the enhancements they add are explained. But as Infonetics Research analyst Andrew Schmitt has pointed out, the industry could do better with its naming schemes. Even the most gifted sales person may be challenged selling the merits of a colourless, directionless product.

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Wireless backhaul: The many routes to packet 

What is being announced?

ECI Telecom has detailed its wireless backhaul offering that spans the cell tower to the metro network. The 1Net wireless backhaul architecture supports traditional Sonet/SDH to full packet transport, with hybrid options in between, across various physical media.

“We can support any migration scheme an operator may have over any type of technology and physical medium, be it copper, fibre or microwave,” says Gil Epshtein, senior product marketing manager, network solutions division at ECI Telecom.


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Ten years gone: Optical components after the boom

Vladimir Kozlov has been covering the optical components industry as an analyst since the optical boom of 2000. Here he reflects on the industry over the last decade.


Average gross margin by industry. Source: LightCounting

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ROADMs: reconfigurable but still not agile

Briefing: Dynamic optical networks

Part 2: Wavelength provisioning and network restoration

How are operators using reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers (ROADMs) in their networks? And just how often are their networks reconfigured? gazettabyte spoke to AT&T and Verizon Business.

Operators rarely make grand statements about new developments or talk in terms that could be mistaken for hyperbole. 

“You create new paths; the network is never finished”

Glenn Wellbrock, Verizon Business

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