Genoa Corp. has begun commercial shipments of its linear optical amplifier (LOA), a chip-based amplifier suitable for use in today's multi-wavelength optical networks.
"This is a significant milestone for the optical communications industry," contends Daryl Inniss, senior analyst with telecommunications research firm RHK Inc. (San Francisco, CA). "With the ready availability of an optical amplifier that shares the cost-structure, potential for integration, mass production, and the legendary scalability of the semiconductor industry, both the economics and the structure of future optical networks will change dramatically."
According to Rick Gold, president and chief executive officer of Genoa, the LOA's potential has led to significant interest throughout the network community. "Our pre-production activity was unusually strong, in spite of the recent correction in the network market," he contends. "LOAs have been sampled by companies around the world, from the 'name' telecommunications giants, to aggressive start-ups hoping to skip a generation of equipment."
It's easy to understand this activity level, he says. "As new applications appear that shift processing to the optical layer of the network, they invariably become a new source of signal loss. The only antidote is gain, and the only source of gain is an optical amplifier."
Genoa's linear optical amplifier--before packaging barely visible to the naked eye--is a chip, making it possible to use dozens, even hundreds, in a single piece of network equipment, as designers re-think the architecture of both the network and its components.
Today, the LOA is being used for applications in receiver pre-amplifiers, lossless modules, inline and tributary amplifiers, and transmitter boost stages. Additionally, engineers at Genoa's customers are already thinking "outside the box," contends Gold. Just as the transistor ended up being far more than just an amplifier, the LOA was conceived to be much more as well. Gold indicates that non-amplifier applications for the LOA, such as all-optical wavelength conversion, are being developed today.
Genoa's first commercial optical amplifier has been designated the G111 Linear Optical Amplifier. It provides full C-band coverage and operates up to and beyond 40 Gbits/sec in a full DWDM environment. The flat gain spectrum of the G111 provides faithful amplification in the multi-wavelength environment, without recourse to gain-flattening filters, and makes the LOA immune to transients in protection switching or add-drop applications.
The LOA is available in a standard 14-pin butterfly package, suitable for integration into any line card in applications ranging from metropolitan and regional networks, SONET/SDH and IP systems, and optical networking nodes.
For more information about Genoa Corp. (Fremont, CA), visit the company's Web site at www.genoa.com.