Light Reading

Bit Parts: Losses, Launches & Expectations

Carolyn Mathas
News Analysis
Carolyn Mathas

New products, market growth and some job losses dominate the components sector in the latest roundup of news tidbits.

  • In the previous Bit Parts blog, I reported that the acquisition of LSI by Avago Technologies Pte. was finally complete. Unfortunately, that also means the start of what Avago is calling the "implementation of its cost reduction activities" related to the takeover, which the company hopes will save it $200 million per annum by the close of its fiscal year ending November 1, 2015. Avago says it "expects to eliminate a substantial number of positions from its workforce across all business and functional areas on a global basis," a move that will result in financial charges during the next six quarters that the company can't currently estimate. Avago is due to release its latest financials on May 29. (See Bit Parts: Following the Optical Money.)

  • Wind River Systems Inc. claims that its vSwitch for NFV, which is integrated within the company's carrier-grade communications server, has achieved industry-leading performance. The company claims vSwitch can deliver 12 million packets per second to guest virtual machines via two processor cores on an industry standard server platform, when using bidirectional traffic. This number of packets is a 20x improvement over the standard Open vSwitch (OVS) software used in typical enterprise data centers, and it's achieved using up to a third fewer CPU resources than other commercial solutions. See this press release for more details. (See Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV.)

  • German broadband chip specialist Lantiq Semiconductor just announced firmware, a test service, a better chip package, and a new reference design supporting its SHDSL (symmetrical high-speed digital subscriber line) chipset, dubbed Socrates, in industrial apps. The reference design will support data rates to 60 Mbit/s and, claims the company, improves interoperability. To address industrial needs, four-channel Socrates were converted from gold to copper bond wiring. Samples, chipsets, services, and evaluation boards are available now. The reference board will be available during the second half of 2014. (See Lantiq Enhances SHDSL Offering.)

  • STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE: STM) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) have struck a deal that will result in Samsung manufacturing STMicro's 28nm fully depleted Silicon-on-Insulator (FD-SOI). The agreement means that customers wanting 28nm FD-SOI products will have multiple sourcing options beyond STMicro's existing manufacturing facilities in Crolles, France, and will also benefit from Samsung's experience in mass production. The Samsung process will be qualified in early 2015 for volume production. According to STMicro, FD-SOI technology at 28nm delivers "faster, cooler, and simpler semiconductor devices to meet the continuing demand for higher-performance, lower-power systems-on-chips for next-generation electronic products, such as mobile and consumer applications."

  • Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) has shipped its first Virtex UltraScale VU095 All Programmable FPGA, a member of what the company claims is the only 20nm high-end family that enables single chip implementation of 400G and 500G apps. The Virtex VU095 device provides high performance, system integration, and bandwidth for such applications as wired communication, test and measurement, aerospace and defense, and data center. Another family member, the VU190 FPGA, combines nearly two million logic cells with more than 130MB of on-chip RAM, more than 1,000 parallel I/O pins, and up to 120 serial transceivers. The benefits? A whopping 50% power reduction. The devices incorporate 32.75Gbit/s transceivers for chip-to-chip, chip-to-optics, and 28Gbit/s backplanes, and feature multiple integrated ASIC-class 100G Ethernet and 150G Interlaken cores. For more details, see this announcement. (See Xilinx: An 'All Programmable' Strategy.)

  • Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) launched a new set of 10GigE PHY transceivers. The VSC8489 family of physical layer transceivers are designed for enterprise and high-speed data centers that support cloud services. Features include timing synchronization and input signal monitoring. For more details, see this press release. Vitesse also just announced that it has licensed its GigE IP cores to Freescale, and reported a net loss of $5.8 million from revenues of $25.6 million for its fiscal second quarter that ended March 31.

  • Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical coverage at Infonetics Research Inc. , reports that the rollout of colorless, directionless and contentionless (CDC) ROADMs is starting this year, providing a boost to wavelength selective switch (WSS) components. He reports that global ROADM WSS component revenues dipped 8% year-on-year in 2013, and were worth $111 million in the second half of last year, but that shipments and revenues are expected to increase in 2014. Global revenues for WDM ROADM-based optical equipment (excluding components) increased 11% year-on-year to $4.5 billion in 2013, according to Schmitt's calculations. He expects WDM ROADM-based optical equipment will be the fastest-growing segment of the optical transport business, with a projected 2013–2018 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%.

  • ElectroniCast Consultants predicts that sales of fiber-optic collimator lens assemblies, which are used in a variety of optical communications components and devices, will grow by 45% during the next five years. Stephen Montgomery, director of the Fiber Optic Component Group at ElectroniCast, reports that sales of collimator lens assemblies act as a key indicator of growth in the fiber optic communications component industry. Global consumption of the assemblies for commercial optical communications hit $264.2 million in 2013 and is expected to reach $298.4 million in 2014, a rise of 12.9%.

    — Carolyn Mathas, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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