Light Reading
Optical transceiver startup says it's got a twist on the next-gen optical transport protocol

Menara Pitches OTN Advances

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
2/25/2008
50%
50%

An optical transceiver startup is preaching the benefits of the Optical Transport Network (OTN) protocol, saying it's got a way to extend the technology to more parts of the network and so reduce the number of devices carriers need to deploy.

Menara Networks began shipping commercial products in 2007, but it's using this week's OFC/NFOEC as a coming-out party. Two of its transceivers cover the XFP and 300-pin formats, and a third works for the Xenpak and X2 standards.

What makes the parts special, Menara says, is that a lot of the OTN management software has been integrated into the transceivers without violating the respective multisource agreements (MSAs). "Now the transceivers are not just Layer 1 optical, passing bits," says CEO Siraj Nour El-Ahmadi.

On paper, that means systems vendors wouldn't need to worry about including OTN's management features on linecards. "Some of our customers are people who know nothing about systems. They know IP routers, SAN switches -- it would be difficult for them to integrate that software into those switches," El-Ahmadi says.

Building these modules was harder to do than it sounds, he claims. Off-the-shelf OTN chips from companies such as Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (Nasdaq: AMCC) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) don't yet fit inside an XFP module, so Menara had to develop its own chips.

"It was quite a bit more difficult than we thought -- the power constraints, the software," El-Ahmadi says. "It kicked our butts for four years."

Menara is hardly the only believer in OTN; companies like Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) have actively plugged it as the future of optical networking. Part of OTN's promise is to provide one transport envelope to carry both Sonet and Ethernet traffic, creating a chance for those networks to converge. (See Optical Expo: A Look Ahead.)

But Menara thinks it can add to the promise of OTN by removing some equipment from the network. For starters, DWDM OTN modules can eliminate the need for DWDM transponders in a network; wavelengths could come right off a router or switch.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has been among the companies championing that idea, but Menara claims it's the first company to offer it in a pluggable format.

Menara also thinks its products could make dedicated Ethernet demarcation equipment redundant, because its transceivers would provide a monitoring point carriers could use for fault isolation. Moreover, El-Ahmadi says the transceivers are able to calculate bit error rates on a link, something other Ethernet gear can't do.

This part of the plan would involve producing products at lower speeds, suitable for customer premises equipment. "Our plan is to extend this all the way to 100 Mbit/s, not just 10 Gbit/s," El-Ahmadi says.

Menara hasn't announced any customers yet, but El-Ahmadi says the company has been "working with" Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR).

The company was founded by old hands in optical networking: El-Ahmadi and chief technology officer Salam El-Ahmadi both came from Qtera, which was acquired by Nortel Networks Ltd. during the bubble. (See Nortel Completes Acquisition of Qtera .)

Menara has raised $19 million in two rounds of funding from Applied Materials Ventures , Concept Ventures , Sigma Partners , and Spark Capital Partners LLC .

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:54 PM
re: Menara Pitches OTN Advances
We've put up a Startup Spotlight page for these guys:

http://www.lightreading.com/do...

Full disclosure: Most of the information there is already in this story. Hopefully we'll be updating the Startup Spotlight page as Menara progresses, though.

I'm also intending to do one of those on Nistica, but it might be a couple weeks.

Any other companies we ought to spotlight? The newer, the better. Let us know: editors@lightreading.com.
NoCopper
50%
50%
NoCopper,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:29:46 PM
re: Menara Pitches OTN Advances
100M OTN?, for the OTN standard purists, this is quite a strange announcement. The lowest OTN line rate is OTU-1 which is around 2.7G. I am not aware of any plans in ITU-T to standardize a lower rate in the future.

Generally I think this approach is a good idea for GbE and 10G rates, but does anybody know whether these pluggables are OTN standard compliant?
nodak
50%
50%
nodak,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:29:37 PM
re: Menara Pitches OTN Advances
From the way the quote reads, I think he meant to say/typo 100G not 100M.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Graham Finnie from Heavy Reading about some of the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control.
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frank Miller: Distributed Solutions are the Best Build for the Future - Part II

1|9|15   |   2:46   |   (0) comments


At SCTE, Frank Miller, Global CTO of MSO at Huawei, speaks about Cable 2.0 and its innovative future.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cuomo Unveils Broadband Aid Program
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/19/2015
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection -- That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive