IBM (www.ibm.com) says its scientists have built the world�s smallest nanophotonic switch with a footprint about 100� smaller than the cross-section of a human hair. The switch could be used to transfer information inside a computer chip by using photons instead of electrons. The switch could significantly speed up chip performance while using much less energy, IBM says. As many as 2,000 switches would fit side-by-side in an area of 1 mm2, easily meeting integration requirements for future multicore processors. The device is able to route a large amount of data since many different wavelengths can be switched simultaneously. With each wavelength carrying data at up to 40 Gbits/sec, it is possible to switch an aggregate bandwidth exceeding 1 Tbit/sec.

FPL FiberNet, a subsidiary of FPL Group Inc., has selected and deployed Alcatel-Lucent�s (www.alcatel-lucent.com) IP/Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) platforms in its packet-based network to deliver Ethernet and IP services. FPL FiberNet currently serves telecommunication companies, wireless carriers, Internet service providers, and enterprise and government customers in Florida through a geographically diverse and protected fiber-optic network. Alcatel-Lucent is also providing installation, deployment, consulting, network integration, and professional services.

Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. (www.acsalaska.com) has entered into an agreement to purchase Crest Communications Corp., owner and operator of the North Star submarine fiber-optic cable, one of three existing submarine fibers connecting Alaska to the continental United States. ACS is acquiring Crest, free of debt, for a cash consideration of approximately $70 million. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2008. ACS expects the acquisition will provide it with a new source of cash flows: $11 million in annual recurring revenue; an EBITDA contribution from recurring revenue of $3 million annually; and additional nonrecurring IRU sales that have averaged approximately $9 million per year.

Ciena Corp. (www.ciena.com) says that Hitachi Data Systems (www.hds.com) will resell the CN 4200 FlexSelect advanced services platform and CN 2000 storage and LAN extension platform. Hitachi will leverage the platforms as part of its network attached storage services, including the Hitachi high-performance NAS platform, powered by BlueArc. Ciena�s CN 4200 will provide Hitachi�s NAS customers with the ability to synchronously transport high-bandwidth replication traffic between geographically dispersed environments using TrueCopy synchronous replication software. As a result of the agreement, customers can also benefit from Ciena�s CN 2000 for extension of their business continuance and disaster recovery applications.

Agilent Technologies Inc. (www.agilent.com) says that Finisar (www.finisar.com) has selected its advanced design system software to support the development of optics products designed for the telecom market. Agilent�s ADS software platform includes the Signal Integrity Design Suite and the Ptolemy system simulator. The ADS is a high-frequency, high-speed electronic design automation software platform. Recent releases of the software include new signal integrity capabilities, such as the addition of SerDes/Verilog analog mixed-signal co-simulation, for a more complete signal integrity design flow for serial links.

France Telecom (www.francetelecom.com) and Orange plan to install a submarine fibre-optic cable providing Madagascar with broadband Internet. Known as Lion, the 1,800-km cable will connect Madagascar with the region�s existing Sat3-Wasc-Safe cable. Lion will link Madagascar with the rest of the world via the islands of Reunion and Maurice, the two connection points of the Sat3-Wasc-Safe cable, which also link Europe to Asia via South Africa. The investment will be made by a consortium, including Orange Madagascar, Mauritius Telecom, and France Telecom, who will operate the cable jointly.

RETN has chosen the Infinera (www.infinera.com) Digital Optical Networking system for the modernization and upgrade of its national backbone network and for the construction of a new pan-European transmission ring. RETN is a wholesale carrier specializing in connectivity within Russia and among major international traffic exchange points. The company provides data and IP-based services to more than 200 communication operators in Russia, Europe, North America, and Asia. The company is planning for three- to fourfold growth in network capacity over the next 2 years.

France Telecom says it has signed a frame agreement to supply domestic fiber-optic connections to a French residential properties association whose members represent more than 800,000 homes. Under the proposed deal, France Telecom will install fiber in buildings that are members of the ARC association of co-ownership building management groups. No financial details were disclosed.

ECI Telecom (www.ecitele.com) has been chosen by French carrier Tutor to deploy an end-to-end next-generation system of products to support the city of Nancy in the roll-out of an advanced fiber-to-the-building network, one of the first in the country. ECI�s product portfolio will provide enterprises located in and near Nancy with advanced broadband and telecommunications services. The company will deploy the XDM-1000 and 2000 WDM systems, the ST-50 for broadband aggregation, and the Hi-FOCuS multiservice access node for GPON.

To help carriers meet fiber deployment challenges and reduce both capital and operational expenses, NEC (www.nec.com) has entered into an agreement to resell VPIsystems� OnePlan network planning system, to be branded as SpectralWave ONP. Carriers will be able to purchase this customized version of OnePlan, specific to NEC products, to optimally plan and route their new and evolving networks, as well as create detailed design reports, including bills of materials and equipment information. The OnePlan system will also allow these carriers to conduct extensive what-if analyses to not only discover path impairments but also recommend design corrections to prevent failures.

AT&T (www.att.com) and NTT Communications Corp. (www.ntt.com) recently signed construction and maintenance agreements to participate in the Trans-Pacific Express Consortium. The two carriers join the six original consortium members: China Netcom, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, Korea Telecom, and Verizon Business. Over the last 15 months, the consortium has shepherded the 18,000-km Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) fiber-optic submarine communications cable between the Asia-Pacific region and the United States. With the addition of NTT, the TPE cable will add a subsea cable link to Japan. TPE landing sites also are located in mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States. The TPE cable has a design capacity of up to 5.12 Tbits/sec, making it the first multiterabit optical cable directly linking the U.S. mainland and East Asia.

Fujitsu Ltd. (www.fujitsu.com) has successfully completed an upgrade of the Japan�U.S. cable network, a submarine fiber-optic cable system spanning the Pacific Ocean. Fujitsu states its technology now enables the network to carry more than 1.28 Tbits/sec, doubling the original design capacity of 640 Gbits/sec. Fujitsu replaced legacy optical communications equipment with its FLASHWAVE S650 series in six landing points�three each in the U.S. and Japan. The submerged portion of the network remained unchanged. The upgrade began shortly after Fujitsu signed the contract with Japan�U.S. CN Owners� consortium in May 2007.

EMCORE Corp. (www.emcore.com) plans to split into two companies, with its fiber-optics business providing the focus for one and its photovoltaic operations serving as the foundation of the other. The decision to divide the company in two comes shortly after EMCORE acquired Intel�s optical telecom components business.

Enablence Technologies Inc. (www.enablence.com), a Canadian supplier of planar lightwave circuit (PLC)-based components, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Wave7 Optics Inc., a manufacturer of FTTH equipment. Enablence will acquire, through a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, all the shares of Wave7 for an aggregate purchase price of US$10.5 million and 2,078,385 common shares of Enablence. As of press time, the companies expected all conditions of the agreement to be fulfilled prior to May 15.

Dear Editor
Why do you publish articles with so much skewed or misstated information as �What to do When PON�s Bandwidth Isn�t Enough� by Irit Gillath [Lightwave, January 2008]?

The author misstates bandwidth requirements��HDTV channels require roughly 20 Mbits/sec per channel more bandwidth than a regular TV channel��about 3 times the bandwidth used by most service providers to deliver their highest-quality HDTV.

The author also misstates PON capabilities��Typically, the highest bandwidth that a PON could provide will not exceed (in an optimal deployment) ~60 Mbits/sec, and in many cases the rate will be lower. This bandwidth is available to all customers connected to the same splitter; there is no way to allocate higher bandwidth to one customer over another. This presents a major obstacle to offering higher revenue generating services for customers who request it��a topic directly addressed by the dynamic bandwidth allocation capabilities described in the PON standards.

The author make misleading statements��Typically when laying fiber, the cables include a greater number of fiber strands than initially required. The service provider can utilize these unused fibers to serve customers who require higher bandwidth via Active Ethernet technology. The spare fibers can be connected in a point-to-point topology, directly connecting the higher-bandwidth customers with the central office (CO) switch��leading the reader to believe that the 32 to 64 times more fiber required for active Ethernet alternatives in portions of the access network are free because for some reason the service provider decided to place more fibers than were needed, when in fact those fibers greater than those initially required are placed to provide for future known or forecasted requirements. So even if they are available today, if they are used for something other than what they were placed for, then additional fibers will have to be placed to serve that requirement.

While active Ethernet is a very important technology for providing high-bandwidth symmetrical services, articles that are so obviously skewed, and include less than credible statements to make a point, undermine the credibility of the technology and your magazine for readers.

There must be some way that you can review articles submitted by manufacturers to assure that they are accurate enough not to discredit your magazine prior to publication.
John Jackson
AT&T Labs, Birmingham, AL

Dear Mr. Jackson
Thank you for your comments.

1. The numbers regarding the bandwidth requirements for HDTV were taken from market research by RVA Render & Associates.

2. GPON can�t really provide more than 60 Mbits/sec in optimal deployments. We�ve heard it from vendors as well as from customers who are deploying PON. While it is true that dynamic bandwidth allocation capabilities are part of the standard, it will only enable the network to get to more efficient performance (mostly on the uplink), but will not allow giving 10M to one customer and 1 gig to another when both are using the same network elements.

This is something that can be done easily with active Ethernet. Moreover, the biggest advantage for dynamic bandwidth allocations is in its ability to improve upstream bandwidth utilization, which is obviously a problem for PON�s very limited uplink. It only emphasizes the advantage of active Ethernet with its symmetrical nature and amount of bandwidth that can be provided (up to 100M or even 1 gig or 10 gig).

3. If I gave the impression that �32 to 64 times more fiber [is] required for active Ethernet alternatives in portions of the access network,� it was by no means the intention. Active Ethernet uses the same amount of fiber as PON. In that paragraph, I was only suggesting that those fibers that you had mentioned were placed �for future known or forecasted requirements� can now (as the future is already here) be used in order to give customers higher-quality service than can be achieved with PON using Active Ethernet. The service provider, even those who have chosen PON as their technology of choice, can use their existing infrastructure to offer these customers�which are typically also the higher-paying customers (high-end users and businesses)�new high-bandwidth services. It is true that the service provider can choose to keep it for �future known or forecasted requirements,� but then it will lead its high-end customer to seek out alternative service providers.

While there are advantages and disadvantages for every technology, we believe that active Ethernet is a superior technology over PON. Although PON is more widely known to people because some major carriers are deploying it, we think it is highly important to enlighten Lightwave�s audience with all the great assets that active Ethernet has to offer. We believe that the information that we�ve written in the article accurately reflects this point of view.

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