Light Reading
Cisco is talking about putting silicon-photonics modules onto switches and routers sometime before late 2013

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
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.
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Hot Topics
Sprint CEO: Price Cuts First, Best Network Next
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/14/2014
IoT Alert: Samsung Snaps Up SmartThings
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/15/2014
Analyst: Ericsson, Oracle Top Shrinking SDP World
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/19/2014
Cisco Halts Revenue Decline – Barely
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/13/2014
Adtran Launches 'Gig Communities' Initiative
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/13/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed