Industry Update

Nov. 1, 2000
North America

Finisar Corp. (Sunnyvale, CA), provider of gigabit fiber-optic solutions for high-speed data networks, will acquire Sensors Unlimited Inc. (Princeton, NJ), supplier of optical components that monitor the performance of DWDM systems. The acquisition, valued at approximately $700 million, gives Finisar access to Sensors Unlimited's photodiode array technology based on indium gallium arsenide, which is emerging as a cost-effective method for optimizing bandwidth in DWDM networks.

Optical Solutions Inc. (Minneapolis), manufacturer of fiber-optic voice, video, and data solutions for service providers in the local access market, has acquired Ziga Systems Corp. (Minneapolis) for an undisclosed amount. Per the agreement, Optical Solutions will acquire Ziga's staff of 12 hardware and software design engineers and certain proprietary technology related to fiber-to-the-home, which is the hallmark of Optical Solutions' FiberPath line of products.

Broadband company ADC (Minneapolis) has agreed to acquire Internet Protocol (IP) access platforms supplier Broadband Access Systems (Westborough, MA) in a stock-for-stock transaction. Per the agreement, ADC will issue shares of its common stock, valued at $2.25 billion, for all outstanding equity interests in Broadband Access. The acquisition provides ADC and its customers a carrier-class, high-performance IP platform to deliver broadband communications services.

New network processor company Bay Microsystems (Santa Clara, CA) has entered the market with single-chip network-processor solutions targeted at carrier-equipment OEMs in the optical-networking, broadband access, datacom infrastructure, and voice gateway markets. Bay's initial single-chip solution will sustain guaranteed line-rate performance of 10 Gbits/sec. The company also plans to deliver a single-chip 20-Gbit/sec solution, followed by a 40-Gbit/sec solution.

Nu-Wave Photonics Inc. (Ontario) has announced its new name, Zenastra Photonics Inc., as the company emerges from stealth mode and announces its initial products. Zenastra has unveiled its family of planar waveguide-based optical devices, including a 16-channel arrayed waveguide grating multiplexer/demultiplexer, a 2x2 thermo-optic switch, an eight-channel variable optical attenuator array, and a 100-GHz single- and four-channel optical add/drop multiplexer/ demultiplexer. Samples of the company's initial offerings will be available in the first quarter of next year with commercial availability in the middle of the year.

Applied Innovation Inc. (Dublin, OH) has announced the formation of LuxPath Networks, a division focused exclusively on high-speed optical Ethernet transmission products. Targeted at telecommunications service providers, LuxPath Networks' line of Ethernet switch and concentration products is designed to reduce the total cost of ownership for data transport services.

Infineon Technologies (Munich), JDS Uniphase (San Jose), Nortel Networks (Ontario), and startup LightLogic (Santa Clara, CA) have announced a multiple source agreement (MSA) for common mechanical, electrical, and optical specifications for small-footprint OC-192 SONET/SDH transponders to support today's optical-networking market. The new MSA specifies a 200-pin connector and pinout, providing customers with an electrical interface that is compliant with Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) specifications. The optical interface is designed to comply with draft ITU and Telecordia specifications for short- and very-short-reach applications.

Optical access networking solutions developer Quantum Bridge Communications Inc. (Andover, MA) has an nounced the formation of the Quantum Bridge Access Alliance, designed to enable service providers to extend the benefits of optical access networking to all market segments, including businesses, multitenant units, and residential customers. Charter members include Accelerated Networks, Carrier Access, Mariner Networks, Mariposa Technology, Sonoma Systems, and VINA Technologies-all players in the Integrated Access Device market. In addition, Quantum Bridge has entered into a three-year, $50-million contract with facilities-based integrated communications provider Advanced TelCom Group Inc. (ATG-Santa Rosa, CA). Per the agreement, ATG will deploy the Quantum Bridge Optical Access System to offer its business customers a wider range of high-bandwidth voice and data services over its fiber-based network.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA-Arlington, VA) has published a new standard, "Fiber-optic Test Procedure (FOTP)-95 Absolute Optical Power Test for Optical Fibers and Cables," TIA/EIA-455-95A. The document is a revision of TIA/EIA-455-95. The standard describes a method for determining the total optical power emanating from an optical fiber. It may be used for measuring the attenuation of the fiber or cable, the loss of terminating devices or methods, the amount of optical power coupled into the fiber by a source, or the optical power at the system receiver.

Fitel Technologies Inc. (Clinton, NJ) has made an equity investment in Advanced MicroSensors (AMS-Shrewsbury, MA) in an effort to increase its presence in the micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) marketplace. AMS will be responsible for the co-development, manufacturing, and fabrication of Fitel's MEMS-related products. Fitel's MEMS development center in Marlboro, MA, will work in conjunction with AMS in the research, design, development, and production of the products. The collaboration will focus on tunability, monolithic integration, and micro-miniaturization of devices for amplification subsystems.

Broadband telecommunications carrier AEVIA Inc. (San Jose), whose metropolitan area network began operation in August, has chosen Alidian Networks Inc.'s (Mountain View, CA) Optical Service Network family as its backbone technology. The companies have recently completed a month-long network trial. AEVIA's network will feature the OSN 4200 and 4800 add/drop multiplexer platforms, which provide to up 10 and 80 Gbits/sec of service-bearing capacity, respectively.

The network unit of Williams Communications (Tulsa, OK) has signed a 20-year, $93-million agreement to provide the nationwide backbone for a new marine VHF radiotelephone network developed by MariTEL (Gulfport, MS). The MariTEL network, comprised of 286 radio towers connected by the Williams network, will provide encrypted, automatic voice and data-communication services to commercial and recreational customers within 100 miles of the nation's coastal and navigable waterways. In a separate, three-year, $12-million agreement, Williams will supply MariTEL with an array of managed services, including management and network engineering, the development of operations and support systems, and the management of network operations from Williams's network control center in St. Louis.

360networks Inc. (British Columbia) has acquired more than 11,000 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure from Call-Net Enterprises Inc. (Ontario) on routes connecting major cities in the U.S. and Canada, in a deal worth $162.5 million. In addition, Call-Net has agreed to purchase approximately $14 million of fiber from 360networks on long-haul through Canada and the U.S. and has committed to purchase an additional $10 million in products from 360networks over the next five years.

Grande Communications (Austin, TX) has entered into a 25-year, $3.3-million agreement with Qwest Communications (Denver) to conduct an exchange of dark fiber in the Austin-San Antonio corridor. Per the agreement, Grande will provide Qwest with fiber along certain sections of its intracity networks, and Qwest will provide Grande with fiber along the Austin-to-San Antonio segment of Qwest's nationwide network. Grande will also receive fiber in Qwest's central business district ring in Austin. Both companies will provide the other with fiber maintenance for the duration of the agreement.

Broadband communications services provider NEXTLINK Communications Inc. (McLean, VA) has signed a contract with Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) to deploy Lucent's WaveStar TDM 10G and WaveStar BandWidth Manager to remotely manage and distribute bandwidth along NEXTLINK's 16,000-mile, intercity, fiber-optic network. Per the contract, Lucent has also agreed to provide technical support for the network.

Internet access and comprehensive Internet solution provider Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (IIJ) has purchased the Dynamic Transport System (DTS) family of all-optical solutions from ONI Systems Corp. (San Jose) in an equipment and services agreement valued at up to $30 million over two years. IIJ also has an option to purchase more DTS equipment from ONI for future network builds.

Global telecommunications group Cable & Wireless (London) will deploy Tellium Inc.'s (Oceanport, NJ) suite of optical switching products across its global Internet Protocol network. The contract, which has a minimum purchase commitment of $350 million over five years, includes the shipment of Tellium's Aurora Optical Switch, the StarNet routing and restoration software, and the Wavelength Management System. Field deployment within Cable & Wireless's network is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2001.

Level 3 Communications Inc. (Broom field, CO) will deploy the third-generation of Corning Inc.'s (Corning, NY) LEAF optical fiber throughout its U.S. intercity network. The first company to deploy Corning's third-generation fiber, Level 3 has signed a letter of intent to purchase more than two million cabled fiber kilometers of the LEAF fiber. The company expects to begin the installation in the second conduit of the network in the first quarter of 2001.

Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ), Canoga Perkins (Chatsworth, CA), and the University of Washington (Seattle) have announced the field trial of an enhanced wideband wavelength-division multiplexing (WWDM) transmission in the 1,400-nm band of optical fiber. The trial, conducted at the University of Washington, will feature Canoga Perkins's 6000 series of WWDM optical-networking systems and Lucent's AllWave fiber. The trial is expected to provide the university with a more cost-effective way to maximize existing fiber-optic assets by utilizing the WWDM technology to provide more bandwidth between locations.

Lightchip Inc. (Salem, NH), provider of systems solutions for next-generation optical transport and management, has signed an initial $25-million contract with ANTEC Corp. (Duluth, GA). Per the agreement, Lightchip will supply two-way, multiwavelength optical routing equipment to support ANTEC's TransPlex product line. In addition, Lightchip has completed a $60-million round of financing, led by Berkeley International Capital Corp., Morgenthaler Ventures, AT&T Ventures, LightPath Technologies, and J.P Morgan Capital. Lightchip will use these funds to accelerate the implementation of its production facilities and for its product development and marketing and sales programs.

Integrated optical component manufacturer Nanovation Technologies (Miami) has entered into a strategic relationship with Motorola Inc.'s Broadband Communications Sector (Horsham, PA), provider of integrated and interactive broadband access solutions. The companies will incorporate Nanovation's all-optical technology into Motorola's HFC and fiber-to-the-home access solutions. In addition, Motorola has made a significant equity investment in Nanovation, which the company will use to enhance its manufacturing capability.

Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (Richardson, TX) and Tellabs (Lisle, IL) have announced a combined multiplexer and core-transport solution. The joint solution integrates Tellabs' TITAN 6500 MTS, which provides scalable, integrated OC-48 ring-based terminations and crossconnections, with Fujitsu's FLM and FLASH 2400 products. The joint solution is designed to enable remote configuration of the Fujitsu SONET rings through the TITAN 6500 MTS system, allowing carriers to more efficiently manage their networks. In addition, Fujitsu has introduced its LightGuard system, an optical protection system designed to bring SONET-style reliability to all-optical networks. The LightGuard solution protects network traffic in DWDM applications and protects the system from an interrupted signal and, optically, from a degraded bit-error rate. The solution is interoperable with all standards-compliant DWDM systems.

Astral Point Communications Inc. (Chelmsford, MA) has initiated the process of making its ON 5000 Optical Services Node capable of automated interoperation with the provisioning systems of network-service providers, including the regional Bell operating companies. The Telecordia OSMINE Services Process, provided by Telecordia Technologies Inc., supports the growing market requirement for automated provisioning of new products within the service providers' network infrastructure. In addition, Astral Point has announced the availability of its new 16-port OC-3 transponder to facilitate additional optical wavelength conversion services on its ON 5000 Optical Services Node.

Bandwidth9 Inc. (Fremont, CA) has announced plans to introduce a line of tunable optical transmission modules enabling next-generation wavelength-on-demand systems for remotely provisioning bandwidth through metro WDM infrastructures. The initial product is an integrated evaluation card consisting of a broadly tunable, directly modulated, semiconductor laser source: an erbium-doped fiber amplifier. It is capable of covering either C-band or L-band and is directly modulated at speeds up to SONET OC-48 or SDH STM-16 data rates. The modules will be available for customers by the end of the year.

Fiber-optic components provider Tsunami Optics (Mountain View, CA) has announced its first product line, a family of coarse WDM components that will include multiplexers, demultiplexers, and fixed and fully configurable (switchable) add/drop multiplexers. The company has developed these products using optical ASICs, which use semiconductor lithography to create components that manipulate light in multiple ways within a single integrated element.

Centerpoint Broadband Technologies Inc. (San Jose) has received more than $7.5 million in investment capital from MKG-SBC Investments, a joint investment vehicle from SBC Communications Inc. and the MKG Group. The investment brings the company's total to $67 million in private equity. Centerpoint will use the additional funding to further develop its Subcarrier Multiplexing technology and systems.

Internet-chip company ConnectCom MicroSystems (Irvine, CA) has completed its first round of financing of approximately $2 million. Lead investors included Irvine Ventures founder Safi Qureshey and Infineon Ventures. The funds will be used to complete the development of ConnectCom's flagship products, targeted at the high-speed SONET/SDH market.

Optranet (Pleasanton, CA) has secured 6.7 million in venture funding, led by Norwest Venture Partners. The funding will be used to develop Optranet's end-to-end optical access equipment designed for service providers deploying converged IP-based broadband networks. Although applicable to a wide range of broadband services, Optranet's products will be initially aimed at ISPs and CLECs developing services for the multitenant unit market.

Pirelli Cables and Systems North America (Columbia, SC) will invest $83 million to expand its fiber-optic cable-manufacturing facility in Lexington County, SC, adding an estimated 280 jobs to its existing workforce. The expansion will support new-product development for emerging applications with new fiber types.


Siemens AG (Munich) has unveiled its transfer venture, Optisphere Networks Inc. (Reston, VA), created to hyper-focus on the optical-networking market. The Optical Networks Division of Siemens Information and Communications Networks Inc. (Boca Raton, FL) formed the basis of the new company, which is expected to grow rapidly via organic and acquisition strategies. Optisphere's main product is the TransXpress Infinity, a long-haul DWDM system designed to meet service providers' needs for increased bandwidth and cost efficiency on an open platform.

Photonics-based instrument and component manufacturer Photonetics (Marly-le-Roi, France) has acquired U.K. distribution company Laser Lines Ltd., which will become the Laser Lines Division of Photonetics. The acquisition expands Photonetics' distribution activity in Europe and provides the U.K. market with direct access to the company's products.

FLAG Atlantic-1 (FA-1), a 50/50 joint venture between FLAG Telecom (Bermuda) and Global TeleSystems Inc. (London), has successfully landed the shore-end cables from separate cable ships at Porthcumo and Whitesands Bay in Cornwall, UK. The landing marks the beginning of the project's maritime activity and is the first step in establishing both a link to France and across the Atlantic to the U.S. FA-1, a dual multiterabit subsea and terrestrial cable system connecting New York, London, and Paris, is expected to be ready to provide fully redundant services by the end of June 2001.

Infineon Technologies AG (Munich) has licensed its 12-channel parallel-optical-link (PAROLI) module technology to Molex Inc. (Lisle, IL). Per the agreement, Molex gains the right to manufacture, market, and sell PAROLI modules, which are used to connect telecommunications and data-communications components and equipment for board-to-board or rack-to-rack applications.

Alcatel (Paris) has announced a partnership with OMM (San Diego), manufacturer of micro-electromechanical subsystems (MEMS) photonic-switching components, through which OMM will supply three-dimensional MEMS technology for Alcatel's next-generation CrossLight photonic crossconnects. The partnership also includes an investment in OMM by Alcatel.

Kymata (Livingston, Scotland), designer and manufacturer of advanced, planar, integrated optical components, has secured a multimillion-dollar product order from Marconi Communications (London). Marconi will use Kymata's components in its Smart PhotoniX family, which supports optical transmission for long-haul, regional, and metro networks. In August, Marconi announced a $3-billion order for Smart PhotoniX from British Telecom for its U.K. optical network, and in September, Smart PhontoniX equipment entered service with Telecom Italia between Rome, Florence, and Bologna.

Marconi plc (Pittsburgh) has agreed to build, operate, and maintain a completely new, all-optical network for British Telecom subsidiary and Dutch telecommunications operator Telfort. The proposed "Managed Wavelength Optical Network" will provide Telfort's customers with direct 2.5- to 10-Gbit/sec optical services. It will feature Marconi's remotely configurable all-optical add/drop multiplexer, the PMA32, which is operated using Marconi's MV 38 management system.

Optical-networking solutions provider ADVA Optical Networking (Munich) and storage-area-networking (SAN) infrastructure provider Brocade Com muni cations Systems Inc. (Ramsey, NJ) have verified interoperability of Brocade SilkWorm Fibre Channel fabric switches with ADVA FSP-II DWDM products. Through ADVA FSP-II DWDM products, SAN customers can interconnect Brocade-based SANs to high-speed, fiber-optic metropolitan area networks.

Optoelectronic component manufacturer Avalon Photonics Ltd. (Zurich), a spinoff of the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, has successfully completed its first round of funding, raising a total of $14 million. Lead investors included Intel Capital, Vision Capital, and Viventures. Avalon Photonics will use the funding to extend its production and R&D facilities for volume fabrication as well as further the development of its semiconductor high-speed vertical-cavity surface-emitting-laser (VCSEL) arrays and other optoelectronic products.

Active and passive optical waveguide component manufacturer Teem Photonics (Grenoble, France) has received $31 million in additional funding and added two new partners, Baker Capital and Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners. Teem Photonics will use the funds to scale up high-volume production of its three families of products devoted to fiber-optic network applications: erbium-doped waveguide amplifiers, splitters, and optical interface components. The company also plans to open a U.S. subsidiary by the end of the year.


Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. (SEI-Tokyo) has invested 35 billion yen in WDM-related products in an effort to boost its WDM-related sales to 200 billion yen by 2002. The investment strategy will focus on increased production capacity and the introduction of next-generation products. Of the 35 billion yen, 23 billion will be devoted to optical communications components, 10 billion to high-performance fiber for WDM, and 2 billion to other optical technology products. The investment is expected to increase production capacity two to five times in each product group by 2002.

Africa, Middle East, Australia

Redfern Fibres Inc. (Sydney, Australia), manufacturer of specialty fiber optics in bulk and pigtailed form, has changed its name to Nufern, in the wake of its recent global expansion. The Sydney operation will continue to provide R&D development and production supply of custom specialty fibers, while the new company headquarters, located in Weatogue, CT, will provide sales and technical support.