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25G Laser Shortage

August, 2014

We have been told that there is going to be a worldwide shortage of 25G lasers in the coming two years, supposedly due to not enough capacity having been planned by the industry as a whole.  We hadn’t heard anything like this before.  Do you guys know if this is true, and if so, why it happened? A couple of our contacts indicate that supply is down because of unexpected demand by a few data center operators as well as a greater need for customized optics, and that 25G lasers have inherently lower manufacturing yields than is the case, say with 10G devices. Specifically, the 25G DMLs are in short supply, not the EML devices. However, the EMLs are very expensive, especially for short-distance applications. There is also apprehension that expanding production will create a long-term overcapacity situation, once the market gets back to normal levels. In the meantime, it has become a waitin ...

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Uncle Sam: Major VC for Optical Gear Development Indefinitely?

October, 2014

Where will the money come from to fund R&D for next generations of fiber optic equipment in the telecommunications and data communications markets? Clearly, the vendors will have enough trouble just keeping up with the changes on existing equipment in what are many cases relatively low-margin businesses – and will be quite hesitant to move ahead significantly on next-gen devices before they get an adequate return on their original investments, including 100G. Despite the heavy amount of cash going into silicon photonics, the increasingly pessimistic outlook for its future could easily result in the last straw for venture capital firms for an extremely long time, which almost assuredly to this day have not fully received their money back on devices at much lower speeds, including those systems operating at 10 megabits and at 10 gigabits. Certainly, the situation of getting an adequate amo ...

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Optical Hardware Innovation Permanently

February, 2015

At the OFC 2015 show next month, the Rump Session is entitled, “Is it 'Game Over' for Hardware?” The discussion will be about “[s]ome industry trends like SDN appear[ing] to make optics hardware engineering and innovation irrelevant and shift innovation into software-based network control [while] [o]ther industry trends like [s]ilicon [p]hotonics appear[ing] to create great new opportunities for hardware innovation.” Of course, while around the world, all kinds of fantastic developments in fiber optic gear continually take place in laboratories, the really important focus should be on actual implementation of new solutions in the telecom space, which has historically tended to be driven by events or needs that were unpredictable in nature. Just the specific network requirements of one large carrier can determine the success of a particular solution. In the same way, the decision of a sin ...

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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 th ...

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ROADMs Instead of Metro 100G Systems?

March, 2015

At the OFC 2015 conference, one of the most highly respected network engineers in the business from Xtera Communications will be legitimately asking the question on a panel, “What on Earth is a ‘100G Metro System?’” Bill Szeto will be asserting that because 100G currently means a whole wavelength, there is nothing wrong serving the needs with just taking a 100-gig channel off of a ROADM (Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer). In doing so, it would also take care of the potential problems with stranded capacity that would occur in mesh networks as we outlined in a previous blog article. Bill will also argue that a so-called 100G metro system would provide no additional features/functionality. Also, there would be the avoidance of the issues today, such as with compatibility between different vendors' equipment at that data rate. Obviously, service providers would not want to get lo ...

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