MACOM: Volte-Face Analogous to Infinera

June 30, 2019

"While a replacement at the top of MACOM was a must, there undoubtedly have to be major executive replacements at lower levels of the management structure." The next day there was the following:

Juniper’s SiPh: Reductio ad Absurdum

April 09, 2019

"fibeReality...just picked up some intelligence that Juniper has had some technical difficulties, and unlike what was advertised at OFC, availability of the initial TXs could be delayed until the second half of this year." Towards the end of that month, the supplier acknowledged the later availability of its silicon photonics solution.

CFP2-ACO Modules: Lingering Cash Cow

September 21, 2018

"...Oclaro is close to exiting the QSFP28 module business, or at least the 100G CWDM is possible....[It] shifted its focus to the chip sales." Foreshadowing of the merger with Lumentum resulting in the divestiture of Oclaro's data communications transceiver business, and greater focus on photonic chips in general.

Oclaro: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

September 20, 2018

"We heard through the grapevine that Beck Mason, currently President of Integrated Photonics along with Walter Jankovic, presently President of Optical Connectivity, will remain, and manage those units....[W]e understand that an Oclaro executive, who has been very close with Dougherty, and was among those who played a critical role in getting rid of losing businesses starting about five years ago, will evidently be in charge of all of the fabs after the merger." [fibeReality assumes the original reference was to Lumentum's current CSO]."

Inphi Could Not Resist Hyperscale Vortex

September 18, 2018

"After a little pressing [by fibeReality], in our opinion, Inphi indirectly confirmed our contention that the main application for ColorZ has been very targeted in nature at Microsoft." A little over a month later, Inphi at least acknowledged on its quarterly earnings conference, "we're not baking a second customer [for ColorZ] in our guidance for either Q4 or in our forecast for '19."

Finisar Could be Telegraphing 5G Fronthaul Gear

September 08, 2018

Finisar demoed a new 25G SFP28 for 5G fronthaul apps at OFC 2019.

COBO’s Scheme: Odd Life/Demise Likely

August 30, 2018

In March 2019, two optical architects at Microsoft appeared to go out of their way not to mention "COBO" in their presentations at OFC, and the company announced a joint agreement with Facebook to pursue co-packaged optics standardization efforts.

Infinera/Coriant: A Survival Gimmick

July 31, 2018

"It may be a positive sign that David Heard, Infinera’s General Manager for Product and Solutions is definitely front and center this time in promoting this deal, rather than Dave Welch, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer and Director, and that hopefully the company will finally stop playing favorites with just the gear developed in-house....So, while Coriant’s Groove G30 is a competitive solution to Infinera’s Cloud Xpress, the former should be more attractive in a good number of cases in the DCI market." Shortly afterward, Heard was promoted to COO. In May 2019, it became clear that Infinera made the Groove the priority, as well as the original "Tellabs" orchestration software."

ZTE's revival

April 26, 2018

We predicted (see comments section) it would happen much sooner than the conventional wisdom.


Lumentum + Oclaro: Ecosystem/Profit Bust

March 18, 2018

Shortly afterward, there started to be acknowledgement of our assessment by other sources regarding the terrible market conditions created by the hyperscale data center operators in forcing down prices to unhealthy levels.

Mellanox: Dreadful Timing on “SiPh” Halt

January 12, 2018

"The problem with a company, which has a heavy emphasis on technology, is that it can have devastating outcomes. Although Melanox was stalwart in insisting that it could extend the 1550nm wavelength, it has been clear for some time that it resulted in a very complicated solution that was not practical."

Despite Mellanox announcing the discontinuation of it SiPh product, we learned at OFC 2018 that it was still active.


Verizon's 5G target

December 14, 2017

"Verizon's primary focus for 5G will be on enterprise applications including machine-type communications and mission-critical transport." In May, 2019, the operator started to openly admit that the sweet spot for 5G is a very focused, enterprise play. 

Infinera: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

November 30, 2017

"One way or another, we would not be shocked if ICE5 never becomes real in terms of commercial offerings." Ultimately, ICE5 never became a reality.

Ericsson/Calix: De Facto NG-PON2 Model

October 30, 2017

Three months later, Verizon's selection of Calix was announced.

Congress Will Do Nothing With Net Neutrality

August 10, 2017

A scheduled U.S. House committee in 9/17 even had to be canceled because no firms would commit publicly to being there.

$2B AOI Cap Worse Than Old $3B Acacia

July 29, 2017

AOI's valuation declined substantially five days later.

Perils of Over-Exuberance

July 20, 2017

Despite ADVA reporting its "revenue outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year is subdued," we were critical of its rather rosy outlook on the optical space. A little over a month later, the supplier pre-announced weakness for that quarter.

Lumentum and the Problem with Hubris

June 26, 2017

On its next quarterly conference call, Lumentum decided to cease being so specific on "how much money it expects to make on componentry for the iPhone," which had to be angering Apple.

MACOM’s Aggrandizement of Optical Space

May 30, 2017

"In examining MACOM, there is also the more practical consideration in that although it provides just about all of the piece-parts that will go into an optical transceiver/module, much of them were obtained through acquisitions, of perhaps varying quality, and so, there may be still a challenge in fully absorbing all of them in order to maximize margins." A little over two years later, MACOM abandoned the module space.

Infinera Apparently Won’t Neutralize XTM

May 28, 2017

Our assumption proved accurate with an announcement of the XTM II by Infinera the following month.

Acacia’s Narrow Option Down Food Chain

May 26, 2017

We discussed "the over-the-top enthusiasm in the industry regarding the impact of Facebook’s Voyager concept on public service providers." We are not aware of any commercially available TIP offerings, other than ADVA Optical Networking's DCI box.

Embarrassing State of Market Research on Display at OFC 2017

March 21, 2017

During the summer of '17, it became abundantly certain that such bullish forecasts were way off the mark. There is never a loss of credibility for the vast majority of market research analysts because they are viewed as extensions of the PR departments of the manufacturers. Over a year later, the situation with the big optical market research firms had not improved.

Huawei May Hit Optics Component Space with Both Barrels

December 31, 2016

A year later our prediction became true with the first news reports that Huawei Technologies would start producing new types of optical components in-house.

Optical “Supercycle” Farce

December 18, 2016

"With the exception of Chinese system vendors, the booming business mainly applies to component companies supplying them." By 9/17, it became totally clear that short-term, pent-up demand in China alone created the idea of a supercycle, and that there were not multiple market drivers.

Acacia’s Bridge Too Far

October 30, 2016

Regarding, "we would not be surprised to see Ciena introduce WaveLogic 4 soon," the vendor launched WaveLogic Ai the next day, its fourth-generation DSP.

All-Optical Switches: Still Illusory?

October 26, 2016

Despite optimism by the two dominant vendors in penetrating the data center market, we gave several reasons against such adoption, as well as discussed the historic lack of traction in general. Later, Calient, which had been around for quite a while, in what appeared to be a desperate move, secured only $1.3M in venture funding, and then was apparently forced to give up a controlling interest in the firm in order to survive.

Google Fiber Fizzles as Predicted

August 16, 2016

Since 2010, Mark has been on the record as stating that all of Google's investments not connected with its core competency are not usually ends in themselves, but to encourage more broadband development by other operators and to increase Internet usage, so that the company can sell more ads. Even in the fall of 2018, many observers still did not get the intention behind Google Fiber.

Acacia’s Valuation: The Street’s Cruel Joke

August 14, 2016

"At a minimum, the negative consequences...will result in dramatically skewing the value assessments of...other players in the space.” In early 9/16, a prominent investment firm downgraded Ciena based on “valuation” despite no justification for its market cap being about $1B lower than Acacia.

Bastardization of “All-IP” by Orange?

July 10, 2016

Towards the end of 2017, Orange stated that its "all-IP' plans were moved back to 2022, and it was in the context of "fixed broadband lines." 

Brexit: Political Upside Imperative

June 30, 2016

"The critique in general of Brexit makes it falsely appear that the UK is in a permanently weakened position." In 7/17 there was a report of "record levels of venture capital...investment in [London's] tech sector." Then as of the first quarter of 2018, the economy was still doing "fine."

AT&T's “Open ROADM”: More Skepticism

April 05, 2016

The use of open line systems have remained predominantly in data center networks.

SDN Crack-Up?

February 23, 2016

In public networks, SDN continues to be deployed mainly in greenfield applications, specifically in the access portion.

Ciena’s New Obsession with Vertical Integration

February 17, 2016

"A potential problem could be that the top leadership at the transmission equipment giant may be too lax about protecting its proprietary advantage with its WaveLogic 3 device in favor of short-term concerns regarding keeping Wall Street investors happy." Foreshadowing of the later deal it made on WaveLogic Ai with three component vendors -- at least it gave the appearance, at the time, of inadequate attention to IP protection.

Nokia/AlcaLu Optical: Mixed Bag at Best

January 13, 2016

Nokia's optical sales have remained strong on submarine applications, but there has also not been a change in the relatively slow growth for dry networks.

Infinera’s PIC Challenge

January 06, 2016

"While the necessity for 64QAM is terribly far out into the future, we think it is possible that a plateau has been hit with Infinera not being able to go beyond 8QAM and 16QAM with Indium Phosphide-based componentry to achieve a single 400G channel or a 1-terabit PIC….” Even when Infinera initially announced its substantially higher capacity 2.4 terabit PIC in March, 2016, it specified 16QAM.

Reactions to Ciena Based on Elusive Credibility Factor?

December 22, 2015

“In the earnings transcript, Ciena provided a rundown on the DCI vendors. ADVA Optical Networking should have probably been included as one of the 'key players.'" ADVA’s percentage of its sales in DCI about doubled the following year.

Xtera IPO an Act of Desperation?

November 30, 2015

Although we understand that there was a high level of optimism at Xtera in raising funds publicly, it had insufficient appreciation of the higher level of scrutiny involved in opening up its accounts to the world, and we sincerely believe that it could have survived indefinitely without declaring bankruptcy, if it remained a private entity.

Infinera Needs Dose of Humility Such as With Metro

November 28, 2015

"The only reasonable interpretation appears to be that Infinera-developed products like the XTC-2/2-E are more than sufficient to support an optimized switched metro 100G network versus the offerings from the Swedish supplier." In 8/17, the Infinera leadership finally admitted that it dropped the ball with the TM series.

AT&T/DirecTV: Epitome of Bellhead Ploy

November 18, 2015

Over three years later, AT&T was looking to divest the satellite assets.

Verizon’s Potential Colossal Blunder

November 11, 2015

In not selling its enterprise business, as the newswire report indicated, there were considerations otherwise, such as Verizon 5G wireless offerings would be bolstered as well.

More 400G Insanity at ECOC

October 17, 2015

"There can be no doubt that in the foreseeable future that there will be an extremely small number of ports at that data rate found on routers, and perhaps even in data centers, and many analysts and reporters in the market can be counted on to disingenuously declare that the market for that speed has really arrived." Fast-forwarding to the OIDA Executive Forum 2017, "we recall the executive from Finisar, which is the most datacom-centric of all the large optical component vendors, tempering over-enthusiasm about the outlook for demand for 400G based on the very small number of potential data center buyers."

Avago’s Spinoff of Optics in Short Term?

August 29, 2015

“As a bare minimum, the vendor would most likely be interested in ridding itself of many of its own devices under its current heading, 'fiber optics,' within its present category of 'wired infrastructure.' The next month fibeReality was the first news source in the world to point out that a very vague press release put out by Foxconn in Chinese on purchasing machinery really meant that it had bought Avago’s optical module business.

Ciena’s Last Chance to Fulfill Its Destiny

August 23, 2015

“Nokia’s purchase of Alcatel-Lucent means that Ciena’s position particularly in the US market has been strengthened (at least one big carrier in the States wants as little to do with Nokia as possible)….” In a 10/15 Light Reading post, “We think Verizon intends to abandon Alcatel-Lucent as a second source for its long-haul network and focus future investments toward sole-sourced Ciena,” states the analyst (Simon Leopold from Raymond James Financial) in a research note….”

Where Would NYC be on Fiber to the Home Without Verizon?

June 29, 2015

"As alluded to in our previous blog articles, Verizon took advantage of the change in FCC policy, which did not require unbundling, and concentrated its FiOS activity along the I-95 corridor from Boston to Richmond, making sure to pass all of the big enterprise customers, which would provide much higher margins than the residential space." In 7/17, Verizon probably made its first admission of the plan by stating its “objective was to concentrate landline operations in contiguous northeast markets to enhance operational efficiency..."

Verizon/AOL: Bypassing Title II with New Internal Infrastructure?

May 31, 2015

"We at fibeReality believe that the fundamental unfairness of an Internet service provider being treated as a utility is at the heart of the AOL acquisition and we find the various other explanations that have been given in the market to be unpersuasive." In 9/16, we extended the same rationale to Verizon's interest in Yahoo, and found somebody else who was thinking along the same lines. Later, it became evident that Verizon's so-called strategy in moving forward did not make much sense, further substantiating our original thesis. Towards the end of 2018, it was abundantly clear that Verizon was not serious about "Oath."

Ciena Probably Overpaying for Cyan

May 30, 2015

Ciena unwisely destroyed the high-margin, transport gear of Cyan, and the sales performance of the original “Blue Planet” was less than stellar, to say the least. Moreover, there are obviously the costs of purchasing the solutions from the two startups, which pretty much took over the new "Blue Planet Group."

400GbE Spectacular Fantasy

April 27, 2015

“As more time goes by, we hope there will be a greater sense of inevitability to developing a standard that would have a greater level of rationality – like 200GbE – in terms of getting to a data rate that would be closer in terms of the timing of available technology to construct something that at least has the appearance of being authentic.” A study group for 200GbE was established by the IEEE soon afterward.

Optical Ecosystem Collapse Raised by Us Two Years in Advance

April 25, 2015

"In spite of their rhetoric of the great support for the large components firms, such big enterprises do not appear to be concerned at all about their potential role in the possible disintegration of the optical ecosystem." During the Q&A session at the 2017 OIDA Executive Forum, Mark asked a Microsoft executive whether his company, was being too clever by half in making demands, such as open line systems, which could help lead to the destruction of the optical ecosystem in 10 years. As it turns out, our projection for such a calamity was eight years too optimistic, as there were numerous, unprecedented efforts by the hyperscale data center operators to drive pricing down on a growing number of devices to unprofitable levels

Bullish on 850nm VCSELs; Avago Selling VCSEL Components

March 16, 2015

"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...." In its future deal with Foxconn, our understanding was that the former paid the latter by selling chips, including VCSEL devices, at a premium.

New Title II Will Choke Optical Investment

February 15, 2015

“The logical presumption associated with the madness of the FCC’s planned takeover of the Internet will be that service providers should be expected to cut back on fiber optic network investment to an absolute minimum, at least until litigation in the courts has been completed.” According to Dr. Hal Singer, the data demonstrated a substantial decrease in CAPEX.

Telecom Analytics With Bad Data?

November 15, 2014

"On the landline side, the incumbent service providers have been notoriously lousy at record keeping. There are still in place very antiquated inventory systems along with a high level of ignorance about whether a large number of circuits are either working or connected in networks....What is the biggest reason for bandwidth on demand not taking off in a significant way after about three decades of hype? Again, it is about the lack of adequate knowledge by these carriers concerning their networks. How can executives be sure that rapid change will not adversely impact services with them all toppling on to each other? While there have been workarounds, modifications, as well as reductions in the use of Ma Bell’s Trunk Integrated Record Keeping System (TIRKS) system, there are no apparent indications that the OSS will be eliminated any time soon." Even when it came to SDN for Verizon, which had a state-of-the-art network, an initial focus was to ensure an accurate database, and it chose a solution from Sedona Systems. 

OpSIS’ Demise: Politically Incorrect Si Photonic Wafers

October 09, 2014

In October, 2014, we wrote several articles about the coming “Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute,” which was later called the “American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) “[L]ook for stipulations…that might include exorbitant entry fees and “[there is the] logical assumption that corporations will be reluctant to…share proprietary technology.” By February, 2016, a lot of grumbling could be heard about AIM. One company that wanted to join the consortium was asked to contribute $1 million, along with its packaging IP, and then it was supposed to teach AIM how to practice its IP, so it could be used for the benefit of its other members. Of course, the firm did not sign up.

Silicon Photonics: Widespread Usage on Active Components Doubtful

September 23, 2014

For a while, criticism of silicon photonics soon became mainstream.