& 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
Huawei's Pre-MWC Analyst Briefing 2017 Highlights

2|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shares its vision for this year's MWC.
LRTV Interviews
MWC17: 5G, Cloud RAN & More

2|21|17   |   04:35   |   (0) comments


Ovum Senior Analyst Julian Bright talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about all things MWC, including Cloud RAN, Huawei's pitch to the industry and the road to 5G.
LRTV Interviews
MWC 2017's Key 2-Letter Terms

2|20|17   |   08:29   |   (1) comment


5G, AI, VR... these are just some of the two-letter terms that will dominate show-floor chat at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, according to these two blow-hards (a.k.a. Scott Bicheno of Telecoms.com and Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre). And then there's PB...
LRTV Interviews
Key Trends for Mobile Operators in Developing Markets

2|20|17   |   06:37   |   (0) comments


Ovum's Matthew Reed talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about the challenges and opportunities facing mobile operators in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
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
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
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
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
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.