Calient Responds To Skeptics

Can Calient Networks Inc. http://www.calient.net really squash a complete 1,000 x 1,000 port optical switch into a box the size of a kitchen drawer?

Since Light Reading reported on Calient's claims earlier this week (see Calient Claims Breakthroughs On Optical Switches), a number of experts have made skeptical comments. They suggest that Calient couldn't squash a whole switch into such a small space because the fiber connectors would occupy a much bigger volume.

Calient has responded to these remarks by showing Light Reading some diagrams and photos of its prototype switch - which indicate that it really does mean a whole switch, including the connectors.

The diagrams indicate that Calient's 256 x 256 port switch would fit in a box in the shape of a kitchen drawer that's 2U high (about 3 inches). A double depth (6 inch) box of the same length and width houses its 1,024 x 1,024 port switch.

One of the photos show the switching fabric (the size of a sugar cube, according to Calient) inside packaging that's about the size of a rather large cell phone.

The other photo reveals a further breakthrough - a specially developed connector that brings together hundreds of fibers, and plugs into the packaging surrounding the switching fabric. "We have by far the densest connectors that are available, anywhere in the world," says Tim Dixon, Calient's VP of marketing.

-- by Peter Heywood, international editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com
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