Polatis releases flexible, ultralow-loss optical switch

MARCH 18, 2009 -- New switches from Polatis can be clustered to scale to large virtual switch fabrics.

MARCH 18, 2009 -- Polatis Inc. (search Lightwave for Polatis), provider of all-optical switch technology, has announced the availability of its new Series 2000 all-optical switches. The Series 2000 switch will be demonstrated for the first time at OFC/NFOEC in San Diego, Mar. 24-26, at Polatis booth #813.

The optical switch is a fully nonblocking, all-optical 80x80 matrix switch. It is designed to meet high performance and reliability needs of demanding applications with low optical loss, compact size, low power requirements, and fast switching speeds. In a compact 3-U form factor, the device switches data traffic in less than 17 msec and with typical insertion loss of less than 1 dB. The switch reduces the carbon footprint of optical networks by avoiding unnecessary and power-hungry electrical conversion of express traffic at network nodes.

"Polatis shines in deployments where every millisecond of delay and every fraction of a decibel counts; and when you just can't risk a network outage. This will save the operators millions in providing highly reliable service to their enterprise customers," says Tom Ma, CEO and chairman of MPX Technology Corp., a fixed-mobile convergence technology provider that integrates Polatis products in Asia. "In these environments, port counts alone are not enough; high performance and reliability are needed at a large scale."

The Series 2000 80x80 switch uses patented piezoelectric DirectLight beam-steering technology allowing optical connections to be switched without light being present on the fiber. Operators can pre-provision paths for disaster recovery, protection switching, and network monitoring applications on lit or dark fiber. The switch offers true transparency and can switch bidirectional and transient signals used in PON, FTTH, and other transmission systems.

The 80x80 switches can be stacked together to create larger switch fabrics, which can scale to thousands of ports. Adding a new switch to the virtual fabric does not impact existing switches or connections. The Polatis Multi-Switch Controller provides a single management interface for controlling multiple switches in the virtual architecture.

"Polatis has avoided sacrificing superior loss and performance characteristics for scale," says Deb Mielke, president of Treillage Network Strategies. "The Series 2000 enables Polatis to deploy in some of the largest data center and carrier networks, rich with streaming video and multimedia content. In addition to bringing more resilience to the network, this approach enables their customers to control initial capital investment."

Enabling rapid recovery from network outages in global enterprise and service provider networks is a primary application for the switch. Because the Series 2000 product can establish connections without light being present, alternative bidirectional paths can be pre-provisioned on dark fiber, even where these are routed through intermediate switching nodes. Such capabilities enable multiple protection paths to be shared between many working fibers.

The switch's virtual scaling capabilities provide a means for migrating to the benefits of optical systems incrementally, by adding capacity only as it is needed in data center applications. In addition, Series 3000 multimode optical switches are used in combination with the Series 2000 to provide a complete solution for managing all optical connections within and between data and hosting centers.

Optical transmission and switching systems are optimizing the broadcast of real-time and high-definition video over long distances. Carrier networks require low loss, precision, and fast switching speeds, as well as format agnostic/futureproof platforms, for it to be a profitable business proposition. Because control of the switches is fully automated, carriers can offer their broadcast customers the flexibility of changing paths and destinations on the fly as needed.

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