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Absurdity of Stressing Metro 100G Now

January, 2015

A couple of financial analysts have been touting Ciena as the expected big winner for a future contract for a large 100G metro project at Verizon. While there can be little doubt that the vendor would be part of such a deal, it needs to always be remembered that these announced agreements never compel the service provider to buy one dime from any supplier, and so the actual amount of equipment purchased could be far less than initially indicated. Moreover, the conspicuous absence in the current discussion of Fujitsu, a vitally important metro incumbent vendor to Verizon, strongly points to the service provider buying less than a stellar amount of this gear anytime soon. Above all, current expectations for growth in the total 100G market are nothing to write home about – one market research firm, usually among the bullish crowd in general, is only projecting about a 25% increase in...

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No Blowback from Neophotonics Pickup

January, 2015

Before the closing of its deal for Emcore’s narrow linewidth tunable laser product line this month, it had been difficult to find any criticism given that Neophotonics bought Santur several years ago. Apparently, there had been some rumblings of a culture clash amongst the personnel with the prior marriage. In fairness, despite a company doing as much due diligence as possible in advance of a purchase, there is no way to really look under the hood until after sale. In addition, the price for Emcore’s devices was only $1.5 million in cash with the rest of the $17.5 million in debt. Emcore’s former solutions appear to be unique with their external cavity lasers, which provide a very narrow linewidth at the 100G data rate. However, at least one major system vendor has indicated its willingness to put up with a certain number of errors in the software, and that it is good enough just...

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Surviving in a 10G World

February, 2015

Given that the lion’s share of the discussion in telecom forums is about vaporware, it is not surprising that a lot people in the industry would probably be amazed to hear that R&D spending on 10G devices is still happening. While the really compelling drama within suppliers is occurring with mature or even declining market situations, including on 1G and on VCSELs, in which substantial revenue is on the line, the obsession on analyzing the accounts of the various futuristic, sexier solutions can sound repetitive, and at the end of the day, they have a tendency to be quite boring. In contrast, the struggle for 10G transport equipment vendors to survive is a captivating narrative involving a data rate, which will remain a mainstay in public and enterprise networks for a very long time -- in which there is still an overabundance of participants (partially because financing going back to...

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Bullish on 850nm VCSELs; Avago Selling VCSEL Components

March, 2015

As we will demonstrate on an OFC 2015 panel, the data center VCSEL market will remain healthy for an extremely long time, especially in terms of steady revenues. The most shocking change is based on recent evidence that Avago Technologies is selling VCSEL components, possibly including as far down the food chain as bare die, to at least one interconnect solutions provider and at the request of a minimum of one very large enterprise. In even reading between the lines of a small portion of the transcript of the latest quarterly report from the vendor, it indicates a move in this direction: "...[W]hen you start talking about 25[G], you’re talking about having to drive short-reach or even longer reach native 25, which makes it very tough to produce laser, VCSELs, laser, so to speak, that does 25 gigabit. We are one of the few guys who can do it. And we happily sold it to guys who do 100...

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Integrated Photonics Clash

March, 2015

Please join us for our panel at OFC 2015 for a change of pace with fewer slides and with a focus on a lively discussion (and lots of audience participation), which will genuinely face the challenges involved in achieving the goal of increased photonic integration. One of the biggest areas of contention between the speakers will concern cost as well as other factors in advocating the use of optics versus pushing for greater utilization of electronics to achieve the desired objective. Also, some conflict will arise over the economics of large and small companies including access to adequate capital. In particular, the panel will address a very significant problem. With both system vendors and little component firms (in some cases, being funded by huge enterprises to obtain the lowest cost devices) cherry picking the most lucrative opportunities, how does that prevent the major players in...

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