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Comms chips

Cortina Builds off Acquisitions

Cortina Systems Inc. is launching two sets of chips today that show off what the company's been doing with its acquisitions, both in fiber access and in optical transport.

The products suggest Cortina hasn't choked on those deals. In fact, company officials claim Cortina is thriving, particularly in the market for Optical Transport Network (OTN) chips.

Cortina catapulted into the big time, at least in telecom-chip circles, by acquiring a chunk of Intel in 2006 for $115 million. (See Intel Hands Off to Cortina and Cortina's Comfortable With Intel Inside.) Since then, the company has grown to 430 employees. Officials aren't saying what their revenues are, but Cortina has been profitable for eight quarters, says Zino Chair, vice president of marketing.

In days of yore, those words would be IPO hints, but Cortina doesn't talk much along those lines. As he's done in the past, Chair tells Light Reading that Cortina is all about "building a serious company," with a possible IPO being just "one step in building the company and moving the finances forward." Consider it longhand for "no comment."

Building on the optical networking chips acquired from Intel, Cortina is today launching its 600x line of Optical Transport Network (OTN) parts, which are intended to go into optical transponder or muxponder modules.

The CS6001 and CS6002 target 40-Gbit/s transmission -- respectively with and without forward error correction (FEC) enabled -- while other members of the chip family will carry two or four lanes of 10-Gbit/s traffic. All the chips sport Sonet interfaces as well as OTN.

Cortina's other product announcement today involves PON chips for multidwelling units, with separate models for EPON (the CS8012) or GPON (the CS8212). They're the latest fruits of the 2007 acquisition of EPON startup Immenstar. (See ImmenStar Joins EPON Race, Immenstar Adds GPON, and Cortina Buys a PON Plan .)

Cortina has tended to be behind PON-chip competitors like BroadLight Inc. , PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS), and Teknovus Inc. . Cortina claims to have added features that make it stand out -- specifically, an aggregation switch that Immenstar had designed, and a traffic manager that comes from the 2005 acquisition of Azanda Network Devices. (See Azanda Lands a Buyer.)

The announcement is today, but the chips have been sampling for about six weeks in FPGA form and have picked up about 10 design wins, Chair says.

The next steps in PON will include 10-Gbit/s devices for both EPON and GPON, as well as integrated home-gateway features courtesy of last year's Storm Semiconductor acquisition. "We've focused that team on the service provider gateway market," Chair says. (See Cortina Goes Home.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

marlin_brando 12/5/2012 | 4:03:33 PM
re: Cortina Builds off Acquisitions Inorganic growth is faster way of company to grow but Cortina is lacking in fresh ideas and fresh minds. It still depends on old horses so called wall of fames.
glasstotheass 12/5/2012 | 4:03:31 PM
re: Cortina Builds off Acquisitions

Cortina is one of the only competitors left in telecom with a product roadmap.  Sad days indeed.

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