Articles /Presentations/Disputations

Centralized SDN Control and Orchestration

March 07, 2019

Mark was the moderator on a panel at OFC 2019.


March 07, 2019

At the event, we did not get an adequate answer to our question as to whether Verizon can stay indefinitely with a centralized approach for 5G fronthaul, especially for network protection purposes.

OFC 2019 Media/Analyst Luncheon

March 05, 2019

fibeReality "brought up to Cisco Systems' Vice President/GM Optical Systems and Optics Group that many people in the industry were scratching their heads about the Luxtera purchase, pointed out that there had been practically no public comments on silicon photonics technology by him over the last few years (other than apparently critical remarks), and sought out whether it would be used as a loss leader in the same way that Intel appears to be employing its sales of optical components." In general, we did not find the justifications to be very convincing.

OFC 2019 Special Chairs' Session

March 05, 2019

fibeReality "knew that [the] Partner Director Network Architecture, Microsoft Azure Networking was not exactly a fan of the use of MultiMode Fiber (MMF) combined with VCSELs for applications that are 30 meters long or less -- for what we felt was an irrational prejudice. When we asked him about it...we were stunned by what can only be described as a total rejection of the solution...."

2019 OFC Rump Session

2019 OFC Rump Session

March 05, 2019

Mark sounded off that before the industry discusses integration, as the only option that needs to be taken into consideration to boost capacity, that simply deploying new fiber, such as happening with 5G (and should also be allowed to occur on the US coastlines in a big way with festoon networks), along with moving beyond the C-band for terrestrial networks, needs to be included in the analysis.

OFC 2019 Open Platform Summit

March 04, 2019

At the “Will Disaggregation Drive Core Network Deployments in 2025?" session, "fibeReality could not resist responding that in looking at an out-year like 2025, at a show like itself, reveals a large amount of pessimism -- and we also took on AT&T again in expressing our disbelief about it being serious [over] such matters as open ROADMs in general [especially in ensuring adequate reliability]."

"Embracing Uncertainty" Executive Panel

February 05, 2019

At SPIE Photonics West, the speakers were asked: "Which market segments do you consider to offer the most potential for growth in 2019 and why?" Interestingly, Lumentum's CSO did not mention 400G. When we inquired about it during Q&A, LeMaitre provided a fairly decent response (at least from the company's perspective) in that he viewed it as more of a continuous trend in moving up the data rates, as opposed to a real growth opportunity, such as sensing. (Afterward, he agreed with us that the hyperscalers have not provided an incentive to develop 400GbE components, given the ways in which they drove down pricing on 100G to unhealthy levels, and that they will need to provide funding to make it happen.)

2019 Photonics West Industry Perspective

February 05, 2019

At the "Silicon Photonics and Photonic Integrated Circuits" meeting, the discussion was definitely skewed toward the former. Mark responded to the speakers that the 50th anniversary of the silicon photonics concept will be celebrated later in the year. He then asked: Despite the limited number of existing applications for SiPh, why are there so many competent optics engineers who continue to see problems, such as with loss and packaging, and why cannot co-packaging be done with discrete optics? A member of the audience told him later that he did not really get an answer to his questions (including advice to talk with Facebook, that VCSELs and copper were not the right solutions for either facilitating or substituting for CPO, and of course, that real societal shifts will finally result in SiPh becoming a dominant force.

NG-PON2: The Case for 5G Trumps Lackluster Equipment Volumes

July 19, 2018

Noted Mark Lutkowitz, principal at independent consulting and market research firm fibeReality: "We fully anticipate that Verizon will make the necessary huge investments off-budget to ensure that the optics food chain from the lowest level components, such as chips and transceivers, to the full systems are in place in order to pull off the most ambitious project in the history of telecommunications. Nevertheless, there is at least a small minority of well-paid, high-level investors on the Street with big staffs, who still do not get that Verizon is much different from other incumbent ISPs."

EPIC Meeting on Singlemode vs Multimode Communication

June 11, 2018

Mark presented a keynote address: "A 'Contrarian' Market Analysis of Singlemode & Multimode Solutions" in Kessel-Lo, Belgium

Another Own Goal?

April 18, 2018

On the US-China trade conflict.

OFC 2018 Breakfast Briefings

March 14, 2018

Rockley Photonics' revelation to us. 

OFC 2018 Market Watch "State of the Industry - Analyst Panel

March 13, 2018

We asked the financial analyst if he is concerned about longer-term margins on 3D-sensors, given Finisar's entrance in a big way.

Media/Analyst Lunch panel: "Future Demands on the Optical Network - IoT Connected Cars and More

March 13, 2018

Mark debated that "build it and they will come" can be a dangerous strategy as well as why the biggest hurdle to autonomous driving is out of the hands of the telecom suppliers.

2018 OFC Rump Session

March 13, 2018

There was one matter we brought up that nobody wanted to address.

2018 OIDA Executive Forum

March 12, 2018

At the Special CEO Fireside Chat, we asked the panel the key question -- whether the major hyperscale operators are responsible for some of the changes that we are seeing (Lumentum's Oclaro acquisition, Finisar's out-of-the-box CEO selection, quick movement toward diversification, etc.) with increasingly driving down prices to unprofitable levels and destroying the optical ecosystem.

2018 OIDA Workshop on Scalable Integrated Photonics for 5G and IoT

March 11, 2018

During the last session, we provided a reason for optimism in the long term. 

Challenging Ericsson on Synergies at ECOC 2017

September 18, 2017

The Market Focus session on synergies between optical and mobile plant for 5G networks by Ericsson "were superficial in nature. There was nothing about having the Calix boxes being at the heart of the networks, instead of just at the end point, such as in using the OLTs as the BDUs for mobile fronthaul. During Q&A , [Mark] asked the speaker about this matter, and he responded that one solution does not fit all based on topology and geography....We do not believe that is the answer that Verizon is expecting."

Being Provocative with a Project Lead of "Metro-Haul"

September 17, 2017

Mark "asked him whether it could be argued that it was overkill to have six work packages and 10 use cases with Metro-Haul, when the bulk of the action is taking place in the access. His response was that the problem is huge, and it needs to be taken in separate pieces."

Paradoxical Illustration at Special Pre-ECOC 2017 Symposium in Denmark

September 15, 2017

The Deputy Chair of Photonics 21 Working Group 1 "did not see the paradox of Europe being very R&D intensive with lots of funding through public-private partnerships, and the fact that the payoff is not long enough or sustainable until the industry moves on to the next technology (including in the entire field of IT). Instead of moving to more of a free market model, there is a constant search by Photonics21 to make things better with the older model, such as the new emphasis in defining mega trends." Mark "asked the gentleman during the Q&A session about this matter, and he stated that he did not know how to respond, and that I should talk to some people more on the economics side." We "think he said it all when he brought up that making the case for funding based on the cloud is a hard task."

Comment In the Matter of Restoring Internet Freedom

August 30, 2017

AT&T officials, scholars, and others, surprised at this conclusion of the DC Circuit and the FCC, noted that ISPs that filter the Internet have an incentive to avoid burdensome and costly Title II obligations. “Why would not some ISPs consider moving in this direction [curating online content] to avoid the FCC’s draconian rules as they would be precluded under this scenario from the Open Internet Order anyway?”

Breakfast Briefings at OFC 2017

March 22, 2017

Mark is having a very frank discussion with an executive from Go!Foton.


OIDA Executive Forum 2017

March 19, 2017

At the microphone, Mark confronted the Engineering Director of Google Access directly against his stance on NG-PON2, and stated that given his company only deployed a paltry amount of fiber to the home, and with Verizon having a vast amount of experience, his dismissal of the approach was disingenuous.

Session 3 of 2017 OIDA Workshop on Manufacturing Trends for Integrated Photonics

March 19, 2017

Despite Mark's arguments during the session that a monolithic approach deserves to be called silicon photonics more than one that is a hybrid, there were at least a few people in the room who seemed to indicate that SiPh can mean just about anything -- of course, then it means nothing.

Session 4 of the OIDA Workshop -- Update on AIM Photonics

March 19, 2017

During the Q&A, Mark heavily criticized the whole notion of AIM Photonics, emphasizing the poor track record of public-private partnerships.

EPIC Delegation to Israel

February 28, 2017

Mark makes a presentation on "Israeli & European Optical Supplier Combination Opportunities."


February 20, 2017

"According to the fibeReality (consulting and market research firm specializing in the telecommunications and data communications optical industry), the price of 100G QSFP PSM4 and CWDM4 will drop to a historic low."

Ciena Became a Nortel Optical Transport Company, Part 2

February 04, 2017

"We believe that historically, [Ciena] has had a penchant for readily transitioning to the strategies and philosophies of executives, particularly brought on through acquisitions, including from startups that were already on a severe downward trajectory, which had at times resulted in serious financial consequences.”

EPIC Delegation to Singapore

January 12, 2017

Mark presented "Emergence of Data Center Operators in Submarine Networks."

AT&T, Ciena, Fujitsu Test Open ROADM

December 21, 2016

“There is not much evidence to suggest that AT&T has become in reality substantially less operationally driven based on the old Ma Bell model, which has always advocated keeping elements in the network indefinitely,” Lutkowitz added. “In contrast, again, it is Verizon, despite its conservative stance on OLS, which has been quite a bit more innovative.”

Acacia: A Company That Will Need To Be Resistant To The Ire Of Investors

September 27, 2016

"Much of what I have written below is a synthesis of blog posts that are published by.... consultants, including "fibeReality...."

EPIC Event in Conjunction with ECOC 2016

September 20, 2016

Mark questioning Hans-Juergen Schmidtke, Director of Engineering in Facebook’s Infrastructure Foundation team after his presentaion.

Market Focus Session at ECOC 2016

September 20, 2016

During Q&A after the session, Mark asked executives from Finisar and Lumentum Holdings how they expect to remain in business with all of the negative market factors.

"Next Generation Ultra-Broadband Silicon Photonics Based Integrated Circuits" session at ECOC 2016

September 18, 2016

During the Q&A, after Mark asked a knowledgeable source about what Intel was actually shipping in terms of silicon photonics, the extraordinary response was that it was a secret.

Maynard firm cashes in on internet infrastructure boom

September 12, 2016

Lutkowitz said it would be a mistake to overvalue Acacia based on its strong stock performance, which puts Acacia's market cap at $4 billion, around 10 times its revenue....There's a bit of a mini-stock bubble in the optics industry that Acacia is part of, he said, and the company went public at the perfect time to take advantage of it.



Clash of technologies: NRZ vs PAM4 Signaling

September 01, 2016

One of the most pressing matters in the industry are the implications of signalling protocol PAM- 4 overtaking incumbent NRZ.

Infinera: Don’t Sweat Metro Stuff, Says Jefferies; Transmode on Track

May 31, 2016

"There’s been a bunch of skepticism of late about the efforts of Infinera, which has traditionally sold to the 'long-haul' fiber market, to get into the short-haul, or 'metro' market."

Can money be made with SDN?

March 03, 2016

Several recent online articles have pointed to a lack of enthusiasm on the part of network operators for deployment of SDN....

100G Replacing 10G Optical Transport in Metropolitan Networks

August 21, 2015

"Mark Lutkowitz, an industry analyst who has been a steward of observing telecom trends suggests that the expected migration from 10G to 100G during 2015 may be delayed with the availability of 40G technology. It should be noted that 100G technology is more difficult to deploy than either the popular 10G rate or the oft-deployed, but less trendy, 40G."

Silicon photonics: "The excitement has gone"

August 12, 2015

Mark Lutkowitz, principal at consultancy fibeReality, is more circumspect. “As a general rule, the more that reality sets in, the less impressive silicon photonics gets to be,” he says. “The physics is just hard; light is not naturally inclined to work on the silicon the way electronics does."



OFC 2015 Intra-Data Center Interconnection Architectures and Challenges panel

March 25, 2015

Alka presented: "Future of VCSELs in Data Centers -- Healthy Market Indefinitely"

Rump Session at OFC 2015: "Is It 'Game Over' for Hardware?"

March 25, 2015

Mark was a speaker at the event and he emphasized: "Game Will Never Be Over for Optical Gear."

OFC 2015 What's New in Integrated Photonics Technology panel

March 24, 2015

Mark moderated the panel facing the participants from the audience to better engage the speakers in a lively discussion and debate.

2015 Executive Forum

March 22, 2015

Mark questioned the keynote presenter from Microsoft starting with density and ending with security (Part 2 19:30-25:40).