LOS ANGELES -- OFC 2017 -- Ciena broke with tradition Monday by making one of its key in-house technologies, the WaveLogic Ai chipset, available to third-party optical product developers that will build and distribute new products for the optical networking market. (See Ciena Offers Its Wavelogic Tech to Component Vendors.)
Currently, WaveLogic Ai processors can be found only in Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) systems, such as the 6500, 5400, 8700 and Waveserver. (See Ciena Intros Waveserver Ai for DCI, Ciena Unveils 6500 T-Series Packet-Optical Platform and Ciena Outfits Waveserver for Long Haul DCI.)
Now, though, Ciena has decided it wants its technology to feature in a broader range of systems. To achieve that, the company has brokered agreements with three key optical components specialists -- Lumentum Holdings Inc. , NeoPhotonics Corp. (NYSE: NPTN) and Oclaro Inc. (Nasdaq: OCLR) -- that will build, sell and distribute coherent optical modules based on the WaveLogic Ai chipset and sell them to multiple optical system vendors.
In addition, that trio of partners will provide feedback to Ciena on future potential WaveLogic Ai opportunities and collaborate on the development of 400G pluggable modems that can be used in a variety of products, though Ciena has identified the data center interconnect (DCI) sector as a particular initial focus for that development.
This move will no doubt set tongues wagging at OFC and have industry commentators weighing in on the advantages (and potential disadvantages) to Ciena of handing over its crown jewels to others, even if they are some of the most respected names in the optical networking industry. It should be noted, though, that Ciena is not handing over its intellectual property -- these are licensing relationships.
To explain why and how Ciena is doing this, the vendor's CTO Steve Alexander targeted an industry sweet spot -- Oreos. As long as you're prepared to accept its cookies (geddit?), you can check out his blog at the Ciena website.
— Ray Le Maistre, , International Group Editor, Light Reading