Microsoft buys hollowcore fiber provider Lumenisity

Dec. 12, 2022
Microsoft says it plans to use Lumenisity’s technology to improve the latency performance and security of its global cloud infrastructure in support of the Microsoft Cloud Platform and services.

Microsoft revealed December 9, 2022, via a blog post that it has acquired Lumenisity Ltd., the UK-based developer of hollowcore fiber. Microsoft says it plans to use Lumenisity’s technology to improve the latency performance and security of its global cloud infrastructure in support of the Microsoft Cloud Platform and services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hollowcore fiber, as the name suggests, uses a hollow structure that enables optical signals to travel through air rather than the silica of conventional fibers. Transmissions therefore do not suffer the degradations associated with travel through silica cores, particularly latency.

Lumenisity was founded in early 2017 as a spin out from the University of Southampton, where the company’s patented nested anti-resonant nodeless fiber (NANF) was developed (see “Startup Lumenisity unveils hollowcore fiber cables for DWDM applications, new funding”). The company’s CoreSmart cable has seen deployments with euNetworks, among others (see “euNetworks deploys more hollowcore fiber on new UK route”). BT also ran a series of trials using CoreSmart and Comcast has deployed a test network with the cables (see “Lumenisity, BT drive 400ZR DWDM transmission over hollowcore fiber” and “Comcast checking out hollowcore fiber”).

Microsoft says Lumenisity’s hollowcore fiber cables can reduce latency by 47% versus traditional cables as well as provide increased security and intrusion detection because of the fiber’s inner structure. The company also believes that hollowcore fiber could enable ultra-low signal loss transmission that would support longer routes without repeaters. Microsoft believes that customers in the healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, retail, and government sectors could benefit from the network enhancements hollowcore fiber could enable.

According to a source at a PR firm working with Microsoft, existing Lumenisity customers will continue to be able to use CoreSmart cabling "in the near term." Microsoft will provide additional information in this regard in the future, the source added.

This article was updated from the original to add information regarding the status of existing Lumenisity customers as well as to correct errors.

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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