Four-channel, fibre channel link with no regeneration, just LOAs

17 September 2002 -- Genoa Corporation has demonstrated at ECOC 2002, a 160 km, four-channel optical communications link without regeneration, for CWDM applications.

Sep 17th, 2002

17 September 2002 -- Genoa Corporation has demonstrated at ECOC 2002, a 160 km, four-channel optical communications link without regeneration, for CWDM applications.

The demonstration, achieved with the cooperation of Finisar and OFS, was made by the Fremont, California-based company at ECOC 2002, Copenhagen.

In addition, Swedish equipment vendor Transmode Systems demonstrated its amplified CWDM system in Genoa's ECOC booth. "Genoa is positioned well in the CWDM market," said Santanu Das, Director Metro Optical System Engineering, OFS. "By using Genoa's LOA and our AllWave zero water peak fibre, the reach of CWDM systems nearly doubles."

Metro, access, and storage area network (SAN) markets require low cost equipment. However, traditional DWDM systems are too expensive for these cost-sensitive segments. That cost structure has given birth to Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing, targeted at the metro, access and storage area network (SAN) markets, in which a modest number of channels are transmitted in a band between 1460nm and 1620nm with coarse, 20nm spacing.

The relaxed tolerances permit the use of a new class of equipment that costs as little as 30% of that required for the dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology used for long-haul links. Unfortunately, no optical amplifier, particularly the EDFA (erbium-doped fiber amplifier) has until now had the necessary bandwidth to accommodate more than one or two CWDM channels at once.

Genoa's linear optical amplifier, claimed to be the world's first chip-based multi-channel optical amplifier, has a gain of greater than 10dB between 1500 and 1610nm, suiting it to 4 CWDM channels. Erbium-based amplifiers, by contrast, can only operate in the C-band (1530 to 1562nm) and L band (1570-1610nm) and hence will only cover one or two channels at a time.

"People tend to think optical amplifiers are interchangeable," said Gerlas van den Hoven, VP product management at Genoa. "But here is a case, in a market of growing importance to the leading communications systems vendors such as Cisco, Extreme Networks, and Foundry Networks - as well as focused optical network players like Transmode - where that is not the case. This puts the LOA in a very strong position in the CWDM market."

Gartner Dataquest has forecast the metro access market for 2005 to reach USD4.5bn. According to some estimates, as much as 20% to 30% of that may be expended on CWDM technology alone, particularly with the recent passage of the ITU's CWDM specification. Sensing the trend, a growing number of manufacturers are providing CWDM equipment as a low-cost alternative.

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