September 27, 2004 Santa Clara, CA -- http://www.passave.com>Passave Inc. has buttressed its position as the market leader in Ethernet passive optical network (EPON) ICs with the introduction of the PAS6201 optical networking unit (ONU) system-on-chip (SoC). The move to an SoC device puts the company on a technical par with its major competitors, thus giving it a better chance of holding onto its lead in EPON design wins.
Designed for low-cost, high-bandwidth installation on the customer-premises end of fiber-to-the home (FTTH) networks, the PAS6201 incorporates a CPU, media access controller (MAC), serializer/deserializer (SerDes), Layer-2+ switch, and packet buffer on a single chip. According to Dror Sal'ee, Passave's vice president of marketing, these features give Passave a leg up on Teknovus and Centillium Communications, which also offer SoC chips, particularly considering the PAS6201 represents the company's third generation of ONU devices.
Sal'ee says the prime selling points for the PAS6201 are a smaller bill of materials for equipment designers and lower cost of ownership for carriers. A packet-classification engine that enables auto-provisioning of network resources contributes to the latter, while integrated functions on a single chip and the provision of a complete, modular FTTH software stack based on Linux reduce cost and time-to-market for system developers. The result is an ONU price that more closely resembles DSL and cable modems, Sal'ee believes.
Sal'ee says that Passave's existing customers will not have to swap out optical line terminal (OLT) cards to take advantage of the new ONU device. Meanwhile, the company does have a new OLT device in the works, which Sal'ee expects to debut later this year.
Two companies have designed the new device into their equipment, says Sal'ee -- UTStarcom and Mitsubishi Electronics. The PAS6201 will sample in the fourth quarter of 2004 and will ship in production quantities in the first quarter of 2005.
Sal'ee is extremely bullish on EPON as the technology choice of the future for FTTH. In the press release announcing the PAS6201, Passave included a quote from Steve Rago, principal analyst, networking and optical communications, at iSuppli Corp. that projects the EPON market will grow more than 33% per year "for the next several years."
-- Stephen Hardy