Cosemi buys Optella, eyes expansion into 5G fronthaul, FTTx

Cosemi Technologies Inc. says it has acquired Optella Co. Ltd., a South Korean company focused on optical engines for single-mode fiber applications as well as optical transceivers. Cosemi positions the acquisition as an opportunity to expand beyond its current focus on active optical cables to the outside plant, including 5G fronthaul/backhaul and FTTx. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cosemi Technologies Inc. says it has acquired Optella Co. Ltd., a South Korean company focused on optical engines for single-mode fiber applications as well as optical transceivers. Cosemi positions the acquisition as an opportunity to expand beyond its current focus on active optical cables to the outside plant, including 5G fronthaul/backhaul and FTTx. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Optella spun out of South Korean ICT research institute ETRI in 2015. The company has developed integrated optics and electronics platforms based on silicon optical bench (SiOB) and photonics chip on board (PCoB ) approaches. The company also offers 4x10G EPON optical transceivers in XFP and SFP+ formats as well as a 100G QSFP+ transceiver for 5G fronthaul applications. It also is a part of SK Telecom’s TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centers (TEAC) startup accelerator program, which is an outgrowth of the service provider’s work within the Telecom Infra Project (TIP).

“Together, Cosemi and Optella are well-positioned to gain increasing traction and drive toward the next phase of innovation and growth,” said Cosemi CEO Dr. Nguyen X. Nguyen. “We remain committed to supporting today’s unprecedented data growth and, as we expand our target markets, Optella’s technology platform fits into our strategy very nicely. We welcome Optella to our Cosemi family and look forward to growing our presence in Asia and tapping into the pool of talent that exists in South Korea.”

Optella will maintain its presence in South Korea and operate as a wholly-owned Korean entity of Cosemi called Optella Korea. Optella founder and CEO Sangsoo Lee will become CTO for Optella Korea, while Nguyen will become chairman of Optella Korea’s board of directors.

“Over the past three years, we’ve worked hard to build a first-class team that is focused on creating reliable, low-cost, low-power optical solutions with a small footprint,” commented Lee. “Aligning with Cosemi gives us access to their expertise and experience in taking technology from concept to design to volume manufacturing – which will accelerate our time to market. We see partnering with a company as stable and successful as Cosemi as the key to Optella realizing its full potential and continued success.”

Cosemi sold its photodetector business to Avago Technologies in February 2017 to focus on active optical cables for automotive, augmented and virtual reality, consumer, enterprise, and data center applications (see “Cosemi sells photodetector business to focus on active optical cables”). On its website, Optella notes that it has developed optical engines optimized for 2-km single-mode fiber reaches. The first generation accommodates 40G and 100G, with a roadmap toward 400G. The engines would appear to offer the opportunity to create products that complement Cosemi’s existing active optical cable line (see, for example, "Cosemi unveils LS Series active optical cables").

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