10 October 2003 Somerset, NJ Lightwave -- Emcore Corp. has acquired Molex Inc.'s 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) transceiver business -- including the latter's LX4 product. EMCORE now becomes one of the few suppliers of 10GbE transceivers designed for legacy multimode fiber -- at least until serial devices that exploit electronic dispersion compensation mature.
The transaction includes assets, products, technology, and intellectual property related to Molex's 10GbE transceiver business, which is primarily focused on XENPAK and X2 form factor devices, and is currently located in Downers Grove, IL. In addition to the standard LX4 transceivers, Molex also had extended reach 1300-nm devices capable of transmitting 40 km.
As part of the agreement, approximately 17 Molex employees will join Emcore. The business will become a part of Emcore's Fiber Optics division and will initially continue to operate in a portion of Molex's Downers Grove facility to be leased by Emcore.
While the number of companies involved in 10GbE transceivers is great, the subset of those with LX4 devices is not. LX4 relies on WDM technology to break the 10-Gbit/sec stream into four channels of 3.125 Gbits/sec, a speed low enough that legacy multimode can accommodate them. It is the only PMD in the 10GbE standard targeted at multimode infrastructure originally designed to support now outmoded technology such as FDDI. Along with Blaze Network Products and Pine Photonics (recently acquired by Opnext Inc.), Molex was one of the few vendors to focus on this PMD. Its MuxLink product line eventually included both XENPAK and X2 form factors, although an XPAK version of the device was announced in September of last year.
The LX4's hegemony over legacy applications recently became threatened with the advent of transceivers that use electronic dispersion compensation instead of WDM technology to mitigate the dispersion problems found in legacy multimode. Merge Optics became the first company to announce such a product at ECOC, using compensation devices from Scintera Networks. Several other transceiver manufacturers are known to be working on similar devices, with the theory that such transceivers will prove to be less costly and complex.
"We are very excited about this acquisition and the growth opportunities it creates for our company," said Reuben F. Richards, Jr., president and CEO of Emcore. "We believe that this acquisition puts Emcore at the forefront of transceiver technology for 10-Gigabit Ethernet. Molex's 10-Gigabit Ethernet transceiver product complements Emcore's internal capabilities and strategy for growing its fiber-optics business and gives Emcore a significant competitive advantage and the most complete 10-Gigabit Ethernet transceiver product portfolio."
"We are pleased to have completed the sale of our 10-Gigabit Ethernet transceiver business as planned," said Michael Nauman, president of Molex's Fiber Optics Division. "We are impressed with Emcore's expertise and commitment in the growing 10-Gigabit Ethernet space and chose to sell the business to them accordingly. Our 10-Gigabit Ethernet team looks forward to joining Emcore and to smoothly transitioning the product line to the market. We believe the business is now well poised for success with the Emcore team."