& cplSiteName &

Lightwire Points Cisco Toward 100G

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
2/24/2012
50%
50%

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) could start offering silicon photonics-based modules by August 2013, once it completes the acquisition of Lightwire Inc.

It's part of the 100Gbit/s optical networking story Cisco is crafting around the acquisitions of Lightwire -- a $271 million deal announced Friday morning -- and CoreOptics. (See Cisco to Buy Lightwire for $271M and Cisco Renews Optical Focus With CoreOptics.)

Lightwire had been working on 10Gbit/s commercial products, but Cisco plans to apply the technology at higher speeds.

"The real purpose here for us, aside from our continued focus on the core [priorities], was to make sure we were on top of the 40Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s transition," says Hilton Romanski, Cisco's vice president of business development, whose job is to run Cisco's acquisitions and investments. (See Subtract Another Cisco Name.)

Cisco expects Lightwire to make a difference in both service-provider and data-center equipment.

That difference, by the way, is the lower cost and power afforded by ordinary silicon. Most optical chips have to be built in other materials, such as indium phosphide (InP). Using conventional silicon can be cheaper and can lead to lower-power devices. Moreover, silicon manufacturing technology advances more quickly, due to the enormous ecosystem of chipmakers and foundries hammering away at it.

(Note that actual lasers made of silicon are still hard to do. To our knowledge, Lightwire is still using an off-the-shelf, non-silicon laser in its optical modules.)

Cisco had invested in Lightwire's C round in 2011 as a way to keep an eye on -- and guide the development of -- silicon photonics, because Cisco figured the technology would come in handy soon. "This is one where we saw the transition coming," Romanski says.

Lightwire never disclosed how much it had raised. Its venture investors included New Science, Artiman and Novitas.

Lightwire's startup competition includes Kotura Inc. and Luxtera Inc. , and all three companies have been at this for years. (Lightwire was founded in 2002.) IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) are also dabbling in silicon photonics.

As for why Cisco picked Lightwire specifically, Lightwire founder and CTO Kal Shastri will be joining Cisco as a distinguished engineer, meaning Cisco will have some key expertise on hand should it decide to push silicon photonics into other areas, such as optical backplanes.

Ideas like that are interesting to Cisco, but the company plans to stick to silicon-photonics modules for now, Romanski says. Nearly all of Lightwire's roughly 60 employees will be joining Cisco as well.

"We see the intrinsic value of this as being far greater than what we're putting on the table," Romanski says.

What's the big deal about silicon photonics? Glad you asked. Here's an OFC/NFOEC summary from 2008:



— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
rhr
50%
50%
rhr,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:45 PM
re: Lightwire Points Cisco Toward 100G
This is an interesting announcement on several fronts. First, this is a telecom/ datacom player bringing silicon photonics in house. Cisco could have bought a traditional 100G module maker but it bought a silicon photonics player. It is also a vote of confidence in the technology that is clearly becoming mature. Second, Cisco may be interested in transceivers but this is also an investment in system technology - for backplanes, intra-board device communications and eventually in its ASICs. Bell Labs has silicon photonics too so Cisco is not alone but still this feels like a hugely significant deal.
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Introducing OrbTV: Netscout's MWC Day 1 Recap

2|27|17   |   8:35   |   (0) comments


The executive team of Netscout reviews the first day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Stay tuned for OrbTV -- Light Reading and Netscout's full coverage of the show. We'll have daily show recaps, service provider interviews and tours of the show floor.
LRTV Custom TV
Innovation at MWC: Low-Power IoT for Scottish Sea Lions

2|27|17   |   6:32   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Liz Coyne tours the GSMA's Innovation City at Mobile World Congress 2017. A key theme of this year's event is how low-power or no-power IoT devices could become a part of our everyday lives. Imagine a world in which over 15 billion shipping pallets communicate with cellular networks down the entire supply chain. Or a parka that reveals your ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Will Accelerate the Spread of the Video Business

2|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


What is the future of the booming video business? What changes will happen to the video industry chain in the future? Hunter Hu, VP of Huawei Video Product Line, shares his viewpoints and explains how Huawei can be an enabler and accelerate the spread of the video business.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frost & Sullivan's Jonas Zelba on Going Beyond Connectivity

2|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


Telecom operators across the globe are trying to understand what can they offer beyond connectivity. Operators are already introducing new and innovative services but they are faced with challenges due to unclear business models. Jonas highlights that no one operator can offer all the services itself. Operators in the Middle East should look within their ecosystem ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IDC's Paul Black on Cloudification

2|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


Paul Black from IDC shares his insights on how cloudification is expected to combile all aspects of digital transformation.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Industry Expert Michael Howard Talks About Cloud Native

2|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cloud Native is a really nice term and a lot of people are using it. But most of them have their own definition of what Cloud Native means. Michael Howard offers his take on the terminology.
LRTV Custom TV
4.5G Evolution: Peter Zhou on Advanced MIMO Technologies & 5G Business Prep

2|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


In the process of service transformation, operators need to catch three major opportunities and start deploying in 4.5G networks, such as video, household broadband access and digital transformation of vertical industries. 5G is coming. Operators don't need to wait for it to happen but should progressively deploy 4.5G networks by introducing 5G-oriented ...
LRTV Custom TV
What WTTX Can Deliver

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


Mohamed Madkour explains the benefits of WTTX while Dimitris Mavrakis discusses the challenges of delivering home broadband access.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei on Mobile Broadband

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


Mohamed Madkour shares his vision on MBB for the next three years.
LRTV Custom TV
Analysys Mason Talks About the Future of Digital Operations

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


The future of digital operations has three key aspects: 1. Highly automated operations for both service and network; 2. Highly converged BSS/OSS for business and resources; 3. Highly merged management and control for real-time cloud native operations.
LRTV Interviews
Software Trends in the Telecom Sector

2|23|17   |   03:40   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading senior analyst James Crawshaw talks with Telecoms.com Editorial Director Scott Bicheno about trends and developments in the telecoms software sector and what to expect at MWC 2017.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei's Pre-MWC Analyst Briefing 2017 Highlights

2|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shares its vision for this year's MWC.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/21/2017
Broadband Has a Problem on the Pole
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/21/2017
Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
Cloud Rains on HPE Earnings
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
No One Likes This Click Here
Take a hint!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.