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Silicon Photonics

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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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Still some way to go

Briefing: Dynamic optical networking 

Part 1: The vision .... back in 2000

I came across this article (below) on the intelligent all-optical network. I wrote it in 2000 while working at the EMAP magazine, Communications Week International, later to become Total Telecom.

What is striking is just how much of the vision of a dynamic photonic layer is still to be realised.  Back then it had also been discussed for over a decade. And bandwidth management, like in 2000, is still largely at the electrical layer.

And yet much progress has been made in networking technology. But the way the network has evolved means that a more flexible photonic layer, while wanted by operators, is only one aspect of the network optimisation they seek to reduce the cost of transporting bits.

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ASICs and digital signal processing heat up the optical marketplace

Guest blog on Lightwave magazine, click here


Oclaro: R&D key for growth 

Alain Couder, Oclaro’s CEO, explains why he is upbeat about the photonics market and optical networking in particular.


“We didn’t sell to Intel,” explains Alain Couder, the boss of Oclaro. “Intel looked for a fab[rication plant] that has good VCSEL technology and that could scale and they found us.”  

Couder was talking about how Oclaro became a supplier of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) for Intel’s Light Peak optical cable interface technology. VCSELs are part of Oclaro’s Advanced Photonics Solutions, a division addressing non-telecom markets accounting for between 10 and 15 percent of the company’s revenues.

“I believe very clearly that if a component is available on the market, even if you are a module builder, you are much better off selling to your competition rather than having others do so.”

Alain Couder, Oclaro

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