Another Savior of Data Center MM Fiber?

January, 2015

In addition to the development of longer-distance and higher-speed VCSELs, there is a possibility that in the long term, polymer waveguide material embedded in electronics could also help to extend the life of multimode fiber in data centers. Yet right now, the technology appears to be reminiscent of the use of silicon photonics with active components, but without the hype. As with SI photonics, the concept of these types of waveguides has been discussed for many years with the problem of loss being a major concern, and right now, the vast majority of dialog on the latter can be found almost exclusively in engineering papers and patent applications. An exception has been Dow Corning, which has for a while been making somewhat of a marketing push, such as at trade shows with its short-reach interconnects utilizing “low loss,” silicone-based polymer waveguides. Back in early 2013,...

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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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Knocking of Silicon Photonics Now Mainstream

April, 2015

Who would be against the idea of applying Moore’s Law at some time in the future to optical chips in that it would revolutionize the entire cost structure of transporting signals over light? Nevertheless, only a short time ago, there was hardly a peep of public criticism when it came to the obvious shortcomings of silicon photonics for active components with the exception of Finisar being unjustly punished for telling the truth, as well as fibeReality pointing out what was being said behind closed doors at the vast majority of manufacturers. Today, excluding certain individuals in academia, who are unwilling to admit to any negative attributes of Si photonics, it has presently become almost fashionable to openly state the undeniable conclusion expressed by one vendor’s recent response to us: “The only consensus on the technology is that there is no consensus.” In point of fact,...

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Avago/Emulex/Broadcom: Storage Target; Impact on Finisar

May, 2015

With the acquisitions of Emulex and Broadcom, Avago Technologies is clearly shifting more of its focus from the less appealing optical components space to the very attractive storage business. Not only does the market size of the latter substantially dwarf that of the former, the storage companies went from way too many players in the 1990s, to an ample state of consolidation – with both hardware drive producers, Seagate and Western Digital, currently dominating in terms of revenue. While this state of affairs may be threatened with media’s changeover to solid-state drives, at least the optic componentry firms had a prominent business model that was well established last decade that they could have adopted. There cannot be a lot of optimism that the ridiculous lack of rationalization in optics will change anytime soon. With capital being provided by large end-users for newcomers,...

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