& 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.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 28, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit 101
Will Barkis, Senior Technology Analyst, Orange
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & the Great Migration
Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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 Interviews
Masergy on Security: Attackers Gaining Upper Hand

9|27|16   |   5:10   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Ray Watson, vice president of Global Technology at Masergy, says that because of the growth in virtualization, the threat landscape is shifting in favor of the attackers. As a result, service providers need to think beyond just defending the perimeter and take a more holistic approach to security.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (1) comment


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Wagner’s Ring
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
Wagner’s Ring
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
LRTV Interviews
Peering Into the Digital Future

9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
LRTV Custom TV
Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Optical Innovation 2016

9|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of the 2016 Huawei Optical Innovation forum.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Are You Ready for Huawei Connect 2016?

8|31|16   |     |   (0) comments


Join us for an exclusive sneak peak of Huawei Connect, an integrated conference for the global ICT ecosystem taking place in Shanghai.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP's Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/21/2016
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
Verizon CFO: Eat Our (Fixed) 5G Dust!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/22/2016
WiCipedia: The Women Helping Women Edition
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 9/23/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
There's Nothing Like Missing a Full Minute of Pokémon Go Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.