THE LIGHTWAVE BLOG

The Lightwave editorial staff uses The Lightwave Blog to share their thoughts on optical communications and whatever else might be the current topic of conversation from cubicle to cubicle. Feel free to add your own opinions. If you'd like to become a guest blogger, contact Editorial Director Stephen Hardy at stephenh@pennwell.com

Archive for 'July 2010'

    Oclaro execs explain Mintera deal

    July 22, 2010 8:36 AM by Stephen Hardy

    Late yesterday afternoon, I had a chance to talk with two executives from Oclaro -- CFO Jerry Turin and Executive VP Sales/Marcom Scott Parker -- about the company's acquisition of Mintera (see "Oclaro acquires Mintera with 40, 100 Gbps in mind"). Here are some highlights:

    • The acqusition's boost to Oclaro's 100G efforts was at least as important, and perhaps more important, than its effect on the company's 40G portfolio, Turin said. It probably will have more of an impact when the 100G market reaches the module stage, however. The execs repeated Oclaro President and CEO Alain Couder's assertion that the initial play in the 100G space is at the component level (see "Oclaro: ClariPhy deal boosts 100G component and module play").
    • Parker conceded that the 40G space has been soft for a few quarters, after a certain "major deployer" (that would be AT&T) slowed its rollouts. However, he said that demand for 40G has started to pick up again, particularly for DQPSK technology.
    • Parker foresees DQPSK ruling metro applications and DPSK and coherent 40G duking it out in long-haul applications. Of the three modulation formats, the market opportunity for 40G coherent technology will be most affected by the advent of 100G coherent. Both gentlemen foresee a healthy market for 40G in general over the next two years at least (after which 100G is expected to begin rolling out in earnest). Support for these deployments should make 40G a continuing source of revenue after cost-effective 100G arrives as well.
    • Terry Unter's tenure with Oclaro -- beyond leading the new 40G/100G modules and subsystems division "for a transitional period" -- remains up in the air because it was decided not to hold up the acquisition until that could be defined, the executives said. There isn't a clock on the transitional period, they added.

    LightCounting's Kozlov on consolidation

    July 16, 2010 10:34 AM by Stephen Hardy

    Readers of Lightwave are aware that I interviewed Dr. Vladimir Kozlov, head of transceiver market research and analytics firm LightCounting LCC, for our July/August issue. (Those of you who have not yet subscribed to Lightwave can read the interview here. Then you can correct your serious lapse in judgment.) One discussion topic I didn't have room to include in the article was Kozlov's thoughts on industry consolidation.

    In the interview, Kozlov noted that the module space has seen gradual consolidation. "We’re getting close to the situation where we will have four or five giants dominating the industry," he said. "But there will certainly be plenty of room for new companies or specialists."

    Specialists and newcomers can thrive by addressing niches too small to interest the major players or by being nimble enough to serve short-term but lucrative opportunities, Kozlov believes.

    The trick is to define which end of the spectrum is home. "You can run a very good business by being a specialist. And you can run a very good business by being a generalist," he said. "The danger is getting stuck in between, where you’re not quite diversified enough to be a good generalist and you’re not quite specialized enough to be a specialist."

     

    FTTH quandary for Tier 2/3 carriers

    July 12, 2010 9:01 AM by Stephen Hardy

    The broadband stimulus program has certainly stimulated the bottom line of FTTH gear supplier Calix. The company recently announced that it had topped the $100 million mark in terms of broadband stimulus programs in which it's involved (see "Calix touts $100M in broadband stimulus customers with XIT Rural Telephone Cooperative contract"). But that hasn't made stimulus-enabled projects its entire focus. Geoff Burke, senior director of corporate marketing at Calix, says the size of his company's opportunities with Tier 2 and 3 carriers who haven't received stimulus funds depends on how decision makers answer three questions.

    With AT&T and Verizon shifting into a lower gear when it comes to FTTH/FTTN deployments, the Tier 2 and 3 market becomes the main opportunity for vendors in the space. So far, these smaller players have dominated the broadband stimulus awards. But with the stimulus funding scheduled to be apportioned by this September, the question becomes what happens to the market next. Therefore, the behavior of carriers who either failed to acquire stimulus money or chose not to pursue it will have a significant effect on the demand for FTTH technology over the next several years.

    Burke says that executives at such Tier 2 and 3 players are weighing three main issues:

    1. Will government subsidies ever get any higher than they are now?
    2. Will low-interest debt become any more readily available than it is now?
    3. Will their competitive position ever be better than it is now?

    Burke says that some executives don't believe they have enough visibility to answer these questions, and are therefore delaying buildouts -- or making building decisions at all. However, he also indicated that several projects are moving forward. While he declined to put any numbers on the size of the opportunity or how successful Calix has been in taking advantage of it, my take was that a significant amount of FTTH activity is taking place outside of the stimulus halo.

     

     

     

    UNH IOL looking to start 40GbE/100GbE test consortium

    July 8, 2010 9:12 AM by Stephen Hardy

    Jeff Lapak, senior engineer attached to the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium at the University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL), told me yesterday that the lab is preparing to offer test services for IEEE 802.3ba 40 Gigabit Ethernet and 100 Gigabit Ethernet.

    UNH-IOL is probably the best-known communications interoperability test facility in the United States. It offers private test services and has hosted a variety of plug-fests for standards bodies and industry groups such as the Ethernet Alliance and the Broadband Forum (for example, see "FSAN, Broadband Forum to collaborate on GPON interoperability"). Many of UNH-IOL's test activities revolve around consortia -- groups of vendors who fund test activities associated with a particular technology or application.

    And the welcome mat has been placed in front of the lab for companies interested in being part of a 40 Gigabit Ethernet and 100 Gigabit Ethernet test consortium. Preliminary test suites are nearly complete, Jeff says, and discussions about an interoperability event have already begun. If you want more information or are interested in participating in the consortium, you can email Jeff at jrlapak@iol.unh.edu.

    Is broadband a basic communications service?

    July 1, 2010 9:06 AM by Stephen Hardy

    FICORA, the communications regulatory agency of Finland, thinks so. As of today, consumers and businesses "are entitled to a 1-Mbps broadband subscription" as part of the country's definition of universal service, the agency announced.

    The imperative is now part of the Communications Market Act. FICORA also has defined 26 telecommunications operators as unversal service providers, each of whom FICORA says "have an obligation" to provide the 1-Mbps services at a price and delivery time the agency determines is "reasonable." While what might be reasonable as far as delivery time would vary from case to case, FICORA says, the price ought to be between 30 and 40 euros a month.

    The move underscores the increasing importance of broadband service in the eyes of regulators, not only in Scandinavia but around the world. I would expect the decree isn't the last of its kind we'll see. While FICORA says the choice of communications medium is up to the individual operator, one could expect such directives to be beneficial to the optical communications industry.

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Stephen Hardy

Stephen has covered fiber optics for more than a dozen years, and communications and technology for more than 25 years. He is responsible for establishing and executing Lightwave's editorial strategy across its digital magazine, website, newsletters, research and other information products. He has won multiple awards for his writing.

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