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Ciena Sets Its WaveLogic Free

Ray Le Maistre
3/20/2017
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LOS ANGELES -- OFC 2017 -- Ciena broke with tradition Monday by making one of its key in-house technologies, the WaveLogic Ai chipset, available to third-party optical product developers that will build and distribute new products for the optical networking market. (See Ciena Offers Its Wavelogic Tech to Component Vendors.)

Currently, WaveLogic Ai processors can be found only in Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) systems, such as the 6500, 5400, 8700 and Waveserver. (See Ciena Intros Waveserver Ai for DCI, Ciena Unveils 6500 T-Series Packet-Optical Platform and Ciena Outfits Waveserver for Long Haul DCI.)

Now, though, Ciena has decided it wants its technology to feature in a broader range of systems. To achieve that, the company has brokered agreements with three key optical components specialists -- Lumentum Holdings Inc. , NeoPhotonics Corp. (NYSE: NPTN) and Oclaro Inc. (Nasdaq: OCLR) -- that will build, sell and distribute coherent optical modules based on the WaveLogic Ai chipset and sell them to multiple optical system vendors.

In addition, that trio of partners will provide feedback to Ciena on future potential WaveLogic Ai opportunities and collaborate on the development of 400G pluggable modems that can be used in a variety of products, though Ciena has identified the data center interconnect (DCI) sector as a particular initial focus for that development.


For all the major developments from this year's OFC, check out our dedicated OFC show news channel here on Light Reading.


This move will no doubt set tongues wagging at OFC and have industry commentators weighing in on the advantages (and potential disadvantages) to Ciena of handing over its crown jewels to others, even if they are some of the most respected names in the optical networking industry. It should be noted, though, that Ciena is not handing over its intellectual property -- these are licensing relationships.

To explain why and how Ciena is doing this, the vendor's CTO Steve Alexander targeted an industry sweet spot -- Oreos. As long as you're prepared to accept its cookies (geddit?), you can check out his blog at the Ciena website.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, International Group Editor, Light Reading

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Sterling Perrin
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Sterling Perrin,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2017 | 8:46:32 PM
Re: License
I think the reason this particular licensing agreement is unusual is that Ciena has spent the last 5+ years promoting its WaveLogic chip technology as a key (if not the key) strategic differentiator - its unique innovation in the industry that no other company has. Now, they will be making that unique technology available to competitors.

Sterling

 

 
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2017 | 3:48:30 PM
License
This just sounds like a licensing agreement. 

These kinds of deals usually benefit both sides, and I see no reason why that wouldn't be the case here. 
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