Tektronix buys Optametra for optical modulation analyzer technology

Tektronix Inc. likes the pairing of its real-time oscilloscopes with Optametra’s optical modulation analysis capabilities so much that it has bought the company. The acquisition puts Tektronix in direct competition with Agilent Technologies and EXFO for the supply of optical modulation analyzers used to evaluate coherent optical receivers for transmission at 40 Gbps, 100 Gbps, and higher data rates.

Tektronix Inc. likes the pairing of its real-time oscilloscopes with Optametra’s optical modulation analysis capabilities so much that it has bought the company. The acquisition puts Tektronix in direct competition with Agilent Technologies and EXFO for the supply of optical modulation analyzers used to evaluate coherent optical receivers for transmission at 40 Gbps, 100 Gbps, and higher data rates.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Optametra focused on coherent optical receiver testing applications since its founding in 2007. Its first product was the Optometra OM4000 Series 40G Coherent Lightwave Signal Analyzer in 2009, quickly followed by a 100-Gbps signal analysis system later that year. The coherent receiver test suite needed to be paired with a real-time oscilloscope to properly perform. This approach put it in the same technology camp as Agilent, which also leverages a real-time scope, and contrasted it with EXFO, which uses a sampling oscilloscope. (For Optametra's rationale for using real-time scopes, see "Measuring complex optical modulation in fiber"; for EXFO's opposing view, see "Characterizing advanced modulation formats using optical sampling.")

However, unlike Agilent, Optametra did not have such an oscilloscope in its portfolio, which meant that it had to partner with independent oscilloscope vendors. The company frequently demonstrated its system using WaveMaster 830 Zi oscilloscopes from LeCroy Corp., and shared a booth with LeCroy as recently as last year’s ECOC. However, it had oscilloscopes from both LeCroy and Tektronix in its booth at OFC/NFOEC this past March, as seen in a video on the Lightwave Channel, and had also leveraged Tektronix scopes for other trade show demos (see "Tektronix and Optametra team to solve 100G optical measurement challenges").

The acquisition furthers Tektronix’s penetration of the optical test and measurement market, following its acquisition of Synthesys Research and its BERTScope line in 20xx. “The emergence of coherent optical standards is creating a technology shift in the communications market and new testing challenges are emerging,” said Amir Aghdaei, president of Tektronix in commenting on the Optemetra acquisition. “Combining Optametra with our next generation of performance oscilloscopes enables us to address this market with a robust solution for our customers. It strengthens our position in communications and optical, building our portfolio along with sampling scopes and BERTScopes.”

For more on test and measurement equipment and suppliers for lab and manufacturing use, visit the Lightwave Buyers Guide.

More in Test