Menara Networks to debut "OTN in a transceiver" at OFC/NFOEC

FEBRUARY 22, 2008 By Stephen Hardy -- Four-year-old Menara Networks will make its debut at OFC/NFOEC next week with a line of OTN-enabled transceivers. The devices are designed to provide OTN-based DWDM transport of Ethernet without recourse to separate transponders.

FEBRUARY 22, 2008 By Stephen Hardy -- Four-year-old Menara Networks (search for Menara) will make its debut at OFC/NFOEC next week with a line of OTN-enabled transceivers. The devices are designed to provide OTN-based DWDM transport of Ethernet without recourse to separate transponders. Target applications include switch/routers and the client side of multiservice provisioning platforms -- basically, wherever Ethernet platforms need to communicate with each other over a carrier's fiber network.

"Our products are XFPs, XENPAKs, X2s, and 300-pins that not only integrate DWDM but full OTN as well as forward-error correction," says Siraj Nour El-Ahmadi, founder and CEO of Menara Networks. The XENPAK modules are generally available and shipping for revenue, he says. Juniper Networks (search for Juniper) is the company's first announced customer.

Menara Networks pins its differentiation on internally developed ICs that combine the transport-related functions that would normally appear within line card chips. The ICs are small enough to fit within MSA transceiver packages alongside the TIAs, laser drivers, and other devices such transceivers would normally contain.

"The prime example is the OTN framer processor," explains El-Ahmadi. "Those are [usually] BGA chips. Then on top of that you have the serializer/deserializer with them, and then with the associated PLL and clock recovery and all the ancillary circuitry."

By integrating these functions within the transceiver, system designers can add OTN DWDM transport capabilities, including OTN OAM, into line cards designed for use with standard 10-Gigabit Ethernet transceivers. El Ahmadi says the company plans to add the ability to extend reach via signal impairment mitigation in the future.

The devices can be used for OTN DWDM transport, Ethernet transport, as well as Ethernet demarcation applications.

The company, headquartered in Dallas, also has an IC design facility in Irvine, CA. All design work is done in-house. The chips are produced by outside foundries, while Sanmina (search for Sanmina) provide packaging and manufacturing of the transceivers.

Menara Networks was founded in 2004. The management team boasts significant experience in systems design and carrier requirements from work at such companies as Nortel, Qtera, Siemens, Multilink, Fujitsu, and Worldcom. The Qtera links are particularly strong: El-Ahmadi; Founder, CTO, and Vice President, Advanced Technologies Salam El-Ahmadi;, Vice President, Product Engineering Sultan McDoom; Vice President, Business Development Sri Nathan; and Vice President, Product Line Management Adam Hotchkiss at the DWDM developer, which Nortel acquired in 2000.

Menara Networks has raised two rounds of private equity financing and is backed by Sigma Partners, Spark Capital, Applied Ventures (Applied Materials' venture capital arm) and Concept Ventures.

The company will offer demonstrations of its technology at Booth #412 at OFC/NFOEC.

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