2014 Lightwave Innovation Awards

We invited technology developers to submit products for review by our independent panel of judges.

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This year marks the start of the Lightwave Innovation Awards, an optical communications technology recognition program. We invited technology developers to submit products for review by our independent panel of judges. Three judges evaluated each product and rated them on the following scale:

0-1. Useful product, yet commodity.

2-3. Solid product with viable attributes that set it apart.

4. Excellent product with technical features and performance that provide clear and substantial benefits.

5. Superb product that sets new standard for performance and provides groundbreaking and new technical milestones.

Our hats are off to the vendors brave enough to submit their products for review. As you'll see, that bravery was rewarded with solid scores all around.

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Fischer Connectors: Fischer FiberOptic Hybrid

This new fiber/copper hybrid connector, which received an Honorable Mention for technical merit, is designed to make it easier for users to integrate both fiber and electrical connections in one rugged connector.

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The connector has a removable block for easy field cleaning. This approach to cleaning enables integrators to speed installation, saving labor costs. The rugged design means less frequent change-outs because of broken ferrules. The cable assembly is designed to specifications, allowing the customer to order specific lengths and manage the material effectively and affordably, saving space, money, and design and installation time, while offering premium optical performance in all environments, indoor or outdoor.

JGR Optics: TLS5 Tunable Laser Source

The TLS5 Tunable Laser Source (TLS5) offers an ultra wide continuous wavelength range of 1260 to 1630 nm, all in one benchtop chassis. The TLS5 enables customers to span the entire CWDM spectral range at a relatively low cost, enabling affordable testing of CWDM as well as broadband optical components.

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Currently, an alternative approach would require the use of several tunable-laser sources, each covering a different wavelength range, to achieve the same wide wavelength coverage. The cost of such an approach would be several times higher than that of the TLS5. To accomplish such wide wavelength coverage, the TLS5 uses several optical amplifiers and an external cavity.

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Agilent Technologies: M8000 Series of BER Test Solutions

The M8000 Series of BER Test Solutions offers a highly integrated and scalable bit-error-ratio (BER) test approach for physical layer characterization, validation, and compliance testing for receivers used in multi-gigabit digital designs. The first model of the series is the J-BERT M8020A High Performance BERT which enables fast, accurate receiver characterization of single- and multi-lane devices running up to 16 or 32 Gbps.

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The J-BERT's M8020A low intrinsic jitter (RJ & ISI) and its built-in de-emphasis enable simple and repeatable setup for optical- receiver stress tests. With support for a wide range of data rates and standards, the new M8000 Series BER test solution provides accurate and reliable results that accelerate insight into the performance margins of high-speed digital devices for computer, consumer, server, mobile computing, and data-center products.

MRV Communications: OptiDriver

MRV's OptiDriver, which received an Honorable Mention for its technical merits, empowers high-growth cloud connectivity with the industry's highest 10-Gbps density and paves the way to 100 Gbps by offering more capacity, intelligence, and ease of use.

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With more than 80 wavelengths in only 10 RU, OptiDriver is engineered to support the latest advances in optical technologies, including intelligent ROADM networks and 100-Gbps transport. Multifunction hardware enables a minimum number of components to serve the maximum variety of applications, including Ethernet, OTN, TDM (T1/E1 to100G), Fibre Channel, ESCON/FICON, Infiniband, and others.

Panduit: PanMPO

The Panduit PanMPO Fiber Connector addresses the expense and challenges that accompany an infrastructure migration from 10G Ethernet to 40G Ethernet.

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The PanMPO Fiber Connector enables users to change the polarity and gender of the multifiber connector in the field, which means installers will always have the correct cable assembly on hand, regardless of polarity and gender requirements. This capability protects the end‐user's fiber infrastructure investment and improves operational efficiency, thus saving time and money.

Senko Advanced Components: Smart Probe

The FTTA Smart Probe, which received an Honorable Mention for technical merit, enables technicians to inspect fiber endfaces.

Senko Smart Probe Cover

Images are captured digitally and streamed via WiFi on the monitor of any Windows laptop, Android tablet, or smartphone.

Tektronix: PPG4001 Programmable Pattern Generator

Design engineers developing high-speed data and long-haul communications technologies must test their SERDES, ICs, components, modules, and systems to ensure they're working to specification.

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It's critical that test instruments offer performance that exceeds what's being tested. The Tektronix PPG4001 Programmable Pattern Generator delivers the performance and signal quality critical for serial data testing at 40 Gbps. The PPG4001 works with the previously announced 40-Gbps Programmable Error Detector to provide a complete 40-Gbps BERT solution.

XKL: DarkStar DST10-20 Optical Networking System

Cited for an Honorable Mention for its technical merit, the DarkStar DST10-20 was custom-designed to meet requirements for very high port density in 1 RU, the provision of immediate extra channel capacity and new business flexibility, plus long haul, low latency capability for in-house backhaul and electronic trading.

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The DarkStar DST10-20 delivers 20 ports in 1 RU and a roundtrip time for a 1,600-km link of 15 msec, close to the performance of the fiber itself. It also uses <8 W per port. A pair of DarkStar DST10-20 systems can be the endpoints for 200 Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth.

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ADTRAN: Total Access 5004 Optical Networking Edge (ONE)

Expanded from the Total Access 5000 platform, the updated Total Access 5004 Optical Networking Edge (ONE) is a right-sized, access-optimized packet-optical transport system that offers service providers a more versatile, highly dense packaging design to help meet the growing needs of backhaul, business, and residential customers.

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The system's ultra low latency enables support for both mobile backhaul and fronthaul applications. This offering enables service providers to easily, cost-effectively, and seamlessly scale services and delivery footprint as the market continues to develop.

ADVA Optical Networking: ADVA FSP 3000 Big Data Transport Solution

Big Data transport has unique requirements. Efficiency, security, and scalability are very important.

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The 100G Metro Encryption Muxponder in an FSP 3000 has the highest efficiency of any data transport option today, including 10GbE. Enterprises, data-center operators, content providers, and service providers can now build huge, efficient, low latency, secure data pipes between facilities, meet low cost, power, and size requirements, and scale these links indefinitely to keep up with the explosive bandwidth growth they're now experiencing.

Anritsu: MP1800A Signal Quality Analyzer

The Anritsu MP1800A 28/32G multichannel signal quality analyzer supports high accuracy bit-error-rate (BER) measurements, crosstalk, jitter, and emphasis, all of which are enhanced with the high sensitivity error detector and PAM converter. This integrated platform enables designers to have a greater degree of confidence when validating the performance of high speed interconnects used in 32G backplanes as well as active optical cable such as Infiniband EDR (26G) and 32G Fibre Channel (28G). The integrated analyzer also reduces the cost of test and can help speed time to market for products being developed to meet the growth of cloud computing and HD video streaming.

BTI Systems: BTI Cloud Networking Solution

The BTI Cloud Networking Solution includes software and systems - leveraging the BTI Intelligent Cloud Connect platform - that meet the stringent performance, scale, economics, and agility demands of the cloud. The offering delivers content, cloud, and network service providers 4X the capacity, half the latency, and up to 10X the applications performance with 50% opex and capex savings for cloud networking deployments.

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BTI's solution combines the intelligence and flexibility of label switch routing with the capacity and scale of optical bolstered by the efficiencies and extensibility of applications integration. It's an open NFV- and SDN-enabled multilayer platform that allows content, cloud, and service providers to rapidly and cost-effectively scale new revenue-generating services while simplifying network operations and management.

Ciena: WaveLogic Photonics

WaveLogic Photonics, which received an Honorable Mention for its technical merits, offers new line intelligence capabilities that significantly improve visibility, control, and programmability of the optical network. It gives operators the ability to leverage software programmability at greater scale and transform their networks from a fixed asset that provides basic connectivity to one that's automated and dynamic for faster service responsiveness and differentiation.

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WaveLogic Photonics capabilities include flexible line elements such as programmable line amplifiers, Smart Raman, customizable ROADM configurations, and intelligent control plane - from metro to core. Ciena's PinPoint advanced fiber analytic software leverages optical-time-domain-reflectometer (OTDR) capabilities to create a complete fiber loss profile.

JDSU: TrueFlex Twin 1×20 Super Transport Blade

The Super Transport blade concept pioneered by JDSU brings all the elements of any given degree in a transport node into a single blade. It collapses the functions of four or five blades in traditional designs into a single- slot envelope. That in turn has a direct bearing on the two key measured metrics of opex: real estate and power consumption. The functions that the blade brings to the customer are optical line pre-amp, route-and-select flex ROADM with a twin 1×20 WSS, optical channel monitoring for flex/superchannels, post-line amplification, and OSC termination.

JDSU: Multi-Wavelength Meter (mWAVE-A1) and Hi-Resolution OSA (mHROSA-A1) Spectral Measurement Modules

The only product cited by two judges for an Honorable Mention, the MAP mWAVE is the world's most compact high resolution multiwavelength meter for WDM component spectral characterization from sub-10G through 400G. It's a natural replacement for aging multiwavelength meters as a next generation solution.

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Compact and modular, the multiwavelength meter minimizes test footprint and enables easier integration into an automated test process. It also reduces downtime and optimizes MTBF with a more robust instrument that has no moving parts. The test system covers a wide range of lab and manufacturing test requirements for spectral devices. Its flexible design enables a dual-function capability: high resolution multiwavelength meter and/or optical spectrum analyzer.


T-BERD/MTS-5800 is a complete network test suite in the smallest dual-port 10G handheld tester. It helps qualify network services and the fiber plant with one easy to use test instrument.

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Its new fiber-optic test capability lets the same technicians fully qualify FTTx, FTTA, DAS, cloud RAN, and access/backhaul fiber plant with one ultra-portable instrument. The system reduces dropped mobile handoffs with the ability to validate mobile-network synchronization by testing synchronous Ethernet, IEEE 1588v2, and 1 PPS protocols, among others.

JDSU: T-BERD/MTS-6000A, -8000 CSAM

Awarded an Honorable Mention for its technical merits, the CSAM (100G Services Application Module) is a new 100G module that brings the most flexibility and versatility to 100G network testing. Leveraging next generation CFP2 optics along with QSFP+ optics, users can install the CSAM in the JDSU T-BERD/MTS-6000A test platform for the industry's smallest ultra-portable 100G tester. Alternatively, technicians can install the CSAM in the T-BERD/MTS-8000 to create the industry's smallest central office-compatible dual-port 100G field tester. This compact tool can test T1/E1 to 100G and virtually all interfaces in between. It provides a combined 100G network and fiber optics test instrument featuring OSA and fiber characterization (OTDR, CD, PMD, and attenuation profile) capability.

MACOM Technology Solutions: MAOM-003401, 28-Gbps EA Modulator Driver IC

The MAOM-003401 high-performance quad-channel electro-absorption modulator driver IC for 100 Gigabit Ethernet (4×25-Gbps) applications received an Honorable Mention for its technical merit.

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This IC is available in packaged form. The MAOM-003401 is driven with a differential (each port) input signal that can range from 350 mVpp to 600 mVpp to provide an output that can be controlled from 1 Vpp to 1.6 Vpp for each channel. In addition, this driver IC has low typical power consumption of 200 mW at 1.5 Vpp output, low RMS jitter, and a typical rise and fall time of 12.5 psec. The driver has separate integrated high frequency coils for biasing the EML.

OE Solutions: TWAMP (Two Way Active Measurement Protocol) Smart SFP

The TWAMP Smart SFP provides customers with the ability to monitor and troubleshoot IP networks using standardized protocols. The IP layer is monitored according to the TWAMP Light protocol as defined in RFC 5357.

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The TWAMP Smart SFP delivers these OAM capabilities at Gigabit Ethernet speed with extremely low latency while serving a wide range of optical applications interfaces for both short and long communication links. OE Solutions' new TWAMP Smart SFP adds OAM capabilities in Layer 3 to offer operators with choices to assure network services at Layer 2 and/or Layer 3.

Transmode: Metro 100G Solution

Transmode's new product range is the industry's first CFP-based all-pluggable 100G solution for metro networks with support for coherent optics. The offering supports both Layer 1 WDM transport and Layer 2 packet-optical applications.

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The new range addresses the specific challenges of the metro-network environment and includes three highly flexible plug-in units for the widely deployed TM-Series. The range of new units includes a 100G transponder, a 100G muxponder, and a 220G Layer 2 Ethernet muxponder (EMXP).

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Albis Optoelectronics: 25G Long Wavelength APD

The product, an enabling technology for 25G APD receivers, e.g., for the IEEE 100GBase-ER4 standard, received an Honorable Mention for its technical merit. A 25G APD receiver is a cost-efficient alternative compared to an assembly of an optical amplifier (SOA) with a standard 25G PD. Such a combination has been the only solution so far for high sensitivity receivers due to the lack of corresponding 25G APDs. The product incorporates a monolithically backside integrated lens. This high accuracy optical system is produced on wafer level which enables reduced costs and provides high alignment tolerances for the assembly process. The APD chip is flip-chip-solderable, which is a favorable assembly process for a 25G receiver compared to wire bonding.

Coriant: mTera Universal Transport Platform

The mTera Universal Transport Platform transforms transport networks from static and fixed resources to offer a dynamic and software-defined service that spans access, metro, regional and long haul networks, enabling network operators to address a broad range of packet-optical transport applications, including metro-to-LH applications and on-demand data-center connectivity. In addition, it's an efficient gateway between traditionally lower speed aggregation networks and dynamic multiservice coherent high speed core networks.

Cyan: Blue Planet SDN Platform

Cyan's Blue Planet is the first carrier-grade SDN platform built specifically for network operators and WANs. Blue Planet is a scalable system with open APIs to enable service deployment and application development in a multivendor network environment. It enables an array of Cyan and third party applications to manage and control underlying network infrastructure and, importantly, interoperates with a broad range of third party network equipment.

FiberQA: FastMT

FastMT is a system that's proven by its inspection of hundreds of millions of MT interfaces. FastMT inspects and cleans to IEC standards or any customer's programmed standards. OEMs' inspection time for a 54 MT-12 is less than 50 minutes, compared to 12 hours previously.

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OEM/VAR friction is reduced with FastMT use in outgoing/incoming inspection verification. If anomalies occur, either party can use FastMT tracing back to the source via 100% traceability. RMAs can be reduced from industry 3.5% plus to far fewer. ROI can be achieved in under six months. FastMT offers 100% traceability, repeatability, and reproducibility.

Infinera: DTN-X Multi-Terabit Packet-Optical Transport Network (P-OTN) Platform

The DTN-X platform features Infinera's third generation of 500-Gbps superchannels, leveraging photonic ICs and delivering unprecedented WDM capacity. The system enables service providers to deliver services faster and create a more scalable network.

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The DTN-X platform has been upgraded to include new features that help service providers simplify the operation of multilayer transport networks through increased automation. The new features include the industry's first superchannel FlexROADM, first standards-based multilayer control plane for spectrum switched optical networks (SSON), and first 500-Gbps flexible-grid superchannels.

Optical Zonu: iSFC Micro-OTDR Transceiver Series

Metrics at the higher network layers may identify that a problem exists, but they can't quickly isolate the location of an optical-fiber fault nor can they automatically trigger the immediate dispatch of repair technicians. An efficient, fast physical layer monitoring approach has long been needed that can instantaneously identify, locate, and report (via SNMP) any optical-fiber cuts, breaks, or other faults (as well as any open, damaged, or dirty optical connectors) in the optical-fiber cable plant. iSFC Transceiver technology is now available to accomplish that. It's backward compatible with legacy access networks and forward compatible with new DWDM 10/40/100G networks as an optical supervisory channel (OSC) transceiver with integrated OTDR. iSFC Transceiver can easily be integrated into the SNMP monitoring of existing switch/router equipment with minimal software/firmware upgrades.

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MACOM Technology Solutions: MAOM-003404, 32-Gbps Differential Modulator Driver IC

The only product to receive the top 5.0 rating, the MAOM-003404 is a high performance quad-channel modulator driver IC for 100G metro applications. The device, which also received an Honorable Mention for technical merit, is designed to interface with surface-mount Mach Zehnder modulators requiring differential drive voltages, enabling the lowest power and smallest form factor transmit device for coherent CFP2 modules.

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The device has four fully differential driver channels integrated in a 14×8-mm surface-mount package. With a differential input voltage range of 300 mVppd to 600 MVppd, it can output up to 5 Vppd while dissipating 730 mW of power per channel. Additive jitter is <0.8 psec and rise/fall times are <12.5 psec, which enables excellent OSNR performance in a 100G DP-QPSK application.

Our panel included:
Jim Benson, Jr., vice president, Americas, Coriant
Robert Blum, product marketing director, Oclaro
Brandon Collings, CTO, Optical Communications, CCOP, JDSU
Frank Effenberger, Huawei Fellow, vice president, Access R&D department, Network product line, Futurewei Technologies
Daryl Inniss, vice president & practice leader, components, Ovum
Ron Kline, principal analyst, intelligent networks, Ovum
Vladimir Kozlov, founder and CEO, LightCounting
Patrick McLaughlin, editor in chief, Cabling Installation & Maintenance
Hunter Newby, CEO, Allied Fiber
Rick Talbot, principal analyst, optical infrastructure, Current Analysis
Jim Theodoras, senior director of technical marketing, ADVA Optical Networking
Dr. Tiejun J. (TJ) Xia, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Verizon

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