Industry Update

Nov. 1, 2002

Zarlink Semiconductor (Ottawa, Ontario) and Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) have announced a multisource agreement (MSA) intended to create a common standard for pluggable four-channel parallel-optic-transceiver modules that offer an aggregate bandwidth of up to 10 Gbits/sec. Agilent and Zarlink will design standardized packaging, optical, and electronic interfaces for their respective four-channel transceiver modules, currently under development. The companies also will work to encourage the adoption of the specification, known as POP4 (Pluggable Optics four-channel), as the global industry standard for four-channel parallel-optic transceivers.

EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering (Quebec City) has signed an agreement to purchase all the assets of Gnubi Communications LP (Dallas), including its technology, expertise, customer base, and inventories. The stock-and-cash deal is worth between $4.3 million and $7.2 million. Gnubi develops multichannel telecommunications and data communications test equipment, which EXFO says will complement its existing protocol layer test portfolio.

Shipley Co. LLC (Marlboro, MA), a subsidiary of Rohm & Haas, will acquire the technology, equipment, intellectual property, and remaining workforce of fiber-optic components manufacturer Haleos (Blacksburg, VA). Shipley will pay $3.1 million for the assets.

Big Bear Networks (Milpitas, CA) has adopted silicon germanium process technology from IBM Microelectronics for its forthcoming Photronic Signal Processing (PSP) family of 10- and 40-Gbit/sec transponder and subassembly products. IBM Microelectronics' high-volume silicon foundry in Burlington, VT, will serve as the manufacturing facility for the PSP products, which will begin shipping later this year. PSP technology is designed to overcome the impairments that degrade data transmission signals over fiber-optic links, enabling carriers to deploy longer and faster fiber links.

Xilinx (San Jose, CA) and Ignis Optics (San Jose) have announced full hardware interoperability of a 2.5-Gbit/sec serial optical interface between the Ignis IGP-2000 series fiber-optic transceivers and the Xilinx Virtex-II Pro FPGA with Rocket I/O multigigabit transceivers. The new solution helps engineers use programmable systems for lowering total system cost, development time, and complexity of PC board designs for applications such as SONET OC-48, Gigabit Ethernet, and Fibre Channel. In addition, Ignis has joined the Xilinx Reference Design Alliance Program.

Cogent Communications Group (Washington, DC), a tier one optical Internet service provider, has acquired key assets from FiberCity Networks (New York City), provider of Internet and optical Ethernet services. Included in the acquisition are a majority of FiberCity's customer base and its building access agreements. As part of the acquisition agreement, FiberCity will cease operations.

Broadband solutions provider ARRIS (Duluth, GA) and Atoga Systems (Fremont, CA) have entered into a strategic OEM relationship under which ARRIS will resell Atoga's Optical Application Router family of metro DWDM platforms in the cable multiple-system-operator (MSO) market segment. The agreement expands ARRIS's portfolio of networking products and provides Atoga with an established partner for entering the growing cable MSO market in North America. The companies plan to collaborate on marketing and development activities in the future.

iolon (San Jose, CA) has signed a sourcing agreement with Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) for iolon's Apollo line of high-power widely tunable external-cavity lasers. Per the agreement, Lucent will deploy iolon's tunable lasers in its LambdaXtreme Transport DWDM systems.

South Central Telephone Association (SCTA), an incumbent local-exchange carrier with nine exchanges in South Central Kansas, has selected Optical Solutions's (Minneapolis) FiberPath 400 fiber-to-the-home system for an overbuild of its rural exchange areas. The all-fiber FiberPath 400 provides high-speed Internet access, hundreds of channels of digital and analog television, and multiple lifeline-quality voice connections.

White Rock Networks (Richardson, TX) has received Network Equipment Building Standards (NEBS) Level 3 certification for its VLX2020 OC-48/-192 SONET add/drop multiplexer. Likewise, NEC Eluminant Technologies' (Chantilly, VA) FiberSLAM 1000 fiber-to-the-business passive-optical-networking system has achieved NEBS Level 3 certification and is now in full production release.

Hatteras Networks (Research Triangle Park, NC), developer of last-mile carrier access platforms, has closed an additional $45 million in venture capital funding. Led by Grotech Capital Group and supported by existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Columbia Capital, and ComVentures, the new round raises the company's total capital investment to more than $73 million. The company intends to use the money to fund carrier product trials and the ongoing development and sales of its Access Class Ethernet platform.

Dune Networks (Agoura Hills, CA), a fabless provider of silicon solutions for communications platforms, has raised $24 million in its first round of funding, led by Aurum-SBC Ventures, Jerusalem Venture Partners, and Pitango Venture Capital. The funding will enable Dune to pursue its development and marketing goals for the introduction of its first-generation products.

Maxima (San Diego), developer of high-capacity optical wireless transmission systems, has raised an additional $4.2 million in series A funding, led by Forrest Binkley Brown and Hamilton Apex Technology Ventures. The company has now raised a total of $7.2 million, which it plans to use to accelerate the commercialization process of its second-generation All-weather Optical Wireless technology.

Lightconnect (Newark, CA) has raised $9 million in its third round of financing, led by Sevin Rosen Funds. Other participating investors include Incubic, Morgenthaler, U.S. Trust, U.S. Venture Partners, and Optical Capital Group. The funding will be used to expand the company's product portfolio, which already includes variable optical attenuators, dynamic gain equalizers, and dynamic channel equalizers.

ENTEL Chile (Santiago, Chile), a subsidiary of Italia Telecom, has selected Lightscape Networks' (Petah Tikva, Israel) XDM converged optical-networking platforms for deployment in its international network connecting New York, Miami, and several Latin American cities, including Caracas, Lima, Salvador, Guatemala, and Santiago. ENTEL Chile has already been using Lightscape Networks' Broadgate mSDM-1 equipment in its network but is adding the XDM to support an increase in traffic over the last six months.

Sunrise Telecom (San Jose), provider of service verification equipment for telecommunications, cable TV, and Internet networks, has acquired Luciol Instruments SA, a Swiss corporation specializing in fiber-optic measurement and instrumentation. Luciol's product line includes a chromatic dispersion analyzer and high-precision optical time domain reflectometer to measure the quality and fault isolation of fiber-optic transmission lines.

Using the existing fiber backbone and infrastructure of its parent company, Lyse Energy, Norwegian carrier Lyse Tele is building a fiber network direct to subscribers in the Stavanger region of Norway to provide homes with next-generation broadband connectivity and services. The carrier has chosen metro Ethernet products from Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA), including Cisco Catalyst 6509 switches for the core and Cisco Catalyst 4006 switches for the broadband Ethernet distribution network. Lyse's H.323-based voice over IP offer will be supported by the Cisco AS5350 Universal Gateway and 3640 Internet routers.

Level 3 Communications (London) has been selected to provide Norway-based service provider Telenor Business Solutions with private line services in London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. Telenor Business Solutions, a subsidiary of the Norwegian PTT, will use the Level 3 network to connect its main IP backbone sites in Europe to the major Internet exchanges across the three markets. The company already uses Level 3's network in the United States.

U.K. carrier Telewest Broadband has installed Harmonic's (Sunnyvale, CA) METROLink DWDM transmission system in the upgrade of its network in southwest England. The METROLink system multiplexes up to 32 wavelengths at 100-GHz spacing on a single fiber, enabling Telewest to increase its network capacity and deliver both narrowcast and multicast services to residential and business customers. The upgrade represents the first ever deployment of a 100-GHz DWDM system in the cable market, say Harmonic representatives.

Bookham Technology plc (Oxfordshire, UK) and Cierra Photonics (Santa Rosa, CA) have formed a two-year, two-part technology and commercial partnership to bring the benefits of high integration-based functionality to WDM products. Bookham is contributing its ASOC design and manufacturing technology as well as its range of integrated gallium arsenide and indium phosphide tunable lasers and modulators. Cierra brings to the partnership its range of thin-film filters, based on the company's Advanced Energetic Deposition process. In the second part of the partnership, Bookham will exclusively distribute Cierra's complete range of optical-channel filters in Europe.

Teem Photonics (Grenoble, France) and NKT Integration (Copenhagen, Denmark) have announced a multisource agreement to develop a four-port, fully integrated gain block consisting of four separately controlled gain blocks in a 110¥95¥12-mm3 module. The agreement sets common product standards for form, fit, and function in mechanical, optical, and electrical interface parameters for integration into optical networks, offering system integrators supply-line security from compatible erbium-doped waveguide amplifier manufacturers.

Southampton Photonics (SPI—Southampton, UK) has successfully completed an independent conformance analysis by Telcordia Technologies (Morristown, NJ) for its family of fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs). The FBGs were tested for long-term reliability, environmental endurance, operating temperatures, flammability, and failure rate. SPI is continuing the Telcordia process for all of its products and will begin qualification of modules this quarter.

Component manufacturer Modulight (Tampere, Finland) has joined the 10-Gbit Small Form Factor Pluggable (XFP) multiservice agreement (MSA) as a "contributor" with the intention to support the work of the MSA by providing module manufacturers with a direct connection to a subcomponent supply chain. The MSA aims to create a specification for a module, cage hardware, and IC interfaces for a 10-Gbit/sec hot-pluggable module converting serial electrical signals into external serial optical or electrical signals.

Transmode Systems AB (Stockholm) and British carrier Vtesse Networks have successfully performed a field trial of an amplified CWDM system. Our CWDM channels of Gigabit Ethernet were transmitted over 125 km of fiber using one linear optical amplifier (LOA) from Genoa (Fremont, CA) as a booster. By adding another LOA, the transmission reach increased to 200 km.

CoreOptics (Princeton, NJ, and Nuremberg, Germany), provider of transponder technology for metro and long-haul telecommunications equipment, has secured $21.5 million in new venture capital funding. Crescendo Ventures, Techno Venture Management, Atila Ventures/ETV, High Tech Private Equity, and others participated in the round, which represents one of the largest financing rounds in a European communications company this year.

Alcatel (Paris) and FiberHome Telecommunication Technologies (Hubei, China) have signed a memorandum of understanding to manufacture and sell Alcatel's complete optical-fiber product portfolio together with FiberHome's optical cabling portfolio in China. The joint venture will take the form of a closed joint stock company, with the two companies holding 50-50 share. Production of the new fiber is slated for early 2003.

Intelligent Telecommunications (IT—Seoul), provider of fiber-optic telecommunications solutions, has won a contract to provide a 10-Gbit/sec DWDM testbed system for Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy. The project, based in Kwang-ju, will enable local vendors to test their products.

China Mobile Communication (Beijing) has selected OPTera Metro 5200 and OPTera Metro 3500 multiservice platforms from Nortel Networks (Ottawa, Ontario) to provide storage-area networking, business continuity, and disaster recovery services to support wireless subscribers in the Shanghai and Zhejiang provinces. In addition, Nortel will expand the wireless carrier's existing data network by building four resilient packet rings (RPRs) across an OPTera metro SDH platform connecting Hangzhou, the Zhejiang capital, with 11 cities province-wide. Nortel has also won a $20-million contract to supply fiber-optic systems for Chunghwa Telecom's network in Taipei. The new high-bandwidth, high-speed backbone will help expand the country's fixed line broadband services. Chunghwa Telecom plans to begin initial service using the network in the second half of 2003. Also, China Mobile has awarded three major contracts to Siemens IC Networks (Munich), valued at more than $14 million. Siemens will provide its TransXpress Infinity MTS 2.0 and SDH products for installation in Beijing City and the Guangdong province.

Asia Global Crossing (Hong Kong) recently completed its East Asia Crossing subsea fiber-optic cable system. The system connects the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Singapore, and Manila and has a total upgrade capacity of 2.56 Tbits.

Ningxia Corp. of China Unicom (Ningxia Unicom) has selected Alcatel's (Paris) SDH transmission products to extend its network. Per the agreement, Alcatel will provide its advanced Optical Multi-Service Node (OMSN) systems to increase the capacity and enhance the reliability of the Ningxia Unicom backbone network. The contract was won through Alcatel Shanghai Bell.

Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) has been selected by Shanghai Telecom, the telecommunications subsidiary of China Telecom in Shanghai, to supply networking technology for the creation of a city-wide multimillion-dollar broadband network. Cisco products, primarily Cisco 12400 Series Internet routers, will provide the IP backbone network and services for construction of the second phase of the Shanghai Telecom MAN, Shanghai's largest IP backbone exchange and access network. Upon completion, the Shanghai MAN is expected to be China's largest urban communications network.

Telkom Kenya (Nairobi) has adopted RAD Data Communications' (Tel Aviv, Israel) multiservice access platform (MAP) as its main converged access platform for connecting customers to its SDH backbone. RAD's MAP has also been integrated into the network of Tanzania Telecommunications.

JEA, the eight largest municipal utility in the United States, has selected Lightscape Networks' (Petah Tikva, Israel) XDM converged optical platform to upgrade its communications network in Jacksonville, FL. The multiphase project provides flexible transport and switching of SONET, Gigabit Ethernet, and Fibre Channel, allowing JEA to improve network capacity, increase breadth of services, and keep up-front capital costs to a minimum, say Lightscape representatives.