Light Reading
After enjoying a temporary chip monopoly at 40G, Sierra Monolithics is ready to talk 100G

Sierra Strikes Forth for 100G

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
3/17/2009
50%
50%

Sierra Monolithics Inc. had a chip market all to itself at 40 Gbit/s, but the company is going to have to deal with more competition as the 100 Gbit/s generation comes along.

The privately held company is trying to get a headstart, at least, having announced its SerDes chips yesterday. (See Sierra Reaches 100G.)

The chipset is called Theta, and it's the 100-Gbit/s followup to Sierra's Epsilon chips for 40 Gbit/s. Theta targets long-haul telecom as well as enterprise 100-Gbit/s Ethernet.

Sierra is no bubble baby. Founded in 1986 (!), it got its start selling chips into military and defense applications. In 2002, as the optical boom was ending, the company decided to try its hand at the commercial market, designing chips for 40-Gbit/s transport and WiMax.

Stories like that tend to finish with the company getting slaughtered by the long-lingering telecom downturn and escaping into another business like wireless or biotech or hamburger flipping. But Sierra was able to live off its military business, which meant it kept its chips around as the industry started moving to 40 Gbit/s.

And once 40 Gbit/s started happening, Sierra hit paydirt. "We were really the only supplier of working 40-Gbit/s SerDes," says Taqi Mohiuddin, a Sierra director of marketing.

The rewards were ample. Sierra finished 2008 with about $50 million in revenues, officials say -- about 60 percent of which came from the SerDes market. That includes a smattering of 10-Gbit/s SerDes sales, but it still pegs 40-Gbit/s SerDes as a rich vein to tap.

And that's why CoreOptics Inc. -- an optical subsystems vendor -- came out last June with its own 40 Gbit/s SerDes. (See CoreOptics Intros 40G Serdes.) And CoreOptics says it intends to be ready at 100 Gbit/s, too.

"We weren't originally planning to do ICs, but we were encouraged by a lot of our customers who said we should do this," says Saeid Aramideh, CoreOptics's vice president of marketing.

It was only natural for somebody to try it, since single-supply parts can cause trouble for systems vendors. A year ago, Opnext Inc. (Nasdaq: OPXT) announced a weak quarter; among the issues it cited was a problem with a new type of 40-Gbit/s mux/demux chip. (See Opnext Lowers Q3 Outlook.) The number of suspects wasn't big.

Sierra expects to start sampling Theta next month, which could put it on target to fuel carrier systems in mid-2010, when the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) standard for 40- and 100-Gbit/s Ethernet is due to be ratified.

CoreOptics intends to get a 100-Gbit/s proof-of-concept demo wired up this year. Only after that's done will officials start discussing their exact 100-Gbit/s SerDes product plans.

CoreOptics would use that chip in its own transponders, being better known as a subsystems vendor than a chip vendor. But the company is open to selling its 100 Gbit/s chips elsewhere. "The key question is: When do you want to make this chip available? Our point of view is, the market ramp will not start until 2011 at the earliest, or 2012," says Aramideh.

In the meantime, Sierra expects the 40-Gbit/s market to remain kind, even though the world's economy is in the dumpster. "It seems a lot of the 40-Gbit/s efforts planned in 2008 are going to be continued in 2009. They don't seem to be as impacted as other areas of capex spending," Mohiuddin says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive