Optical components

ECOC Roll Call

2:00 AM -- Although I'm not attending the European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication (ECOC) this week, I'm seeing the flurry of press announcements tied to the show. Optical lives! As do many of the smaller companies that we'd covered years ago. Amid an industry that crashed and burned after 2000, ECOC -- like OFC/NFOEC in the spring -- brings out the dusty survivors you wouldn't have bet on years ago.

And I'm not talking about the still-standing Avanex Corp. (Nasdaq: AVNX) and Bookham Inc. (Nasdaq: BKHM; London: BHM), or even the revived Pirelli Broadband Solutions . Here are five companies we're surprised are still around.

5. u2t Photonics AG ... Anybody that pegged 40 Gbit/s as their calling card went straight into the Dead Pool around 2001. But u2t is still pursuing the dream of OC768 receivers. I ran into an exec some time ago who said they've survived, in part, on paid research work.

4. Princeton Lightwave Inc. (PLI) ... or Princeton Optronics Inc. , for that matter. They're easy to get confused. Both are apparently still kicking. Neither one graces the ECOC exhibitor list, but PLI's optical channel monitor is on display, courtesy of AMS Technologies Group . 3. Yenista Optics SA ... You know, it's the name. Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and YouTube Inc. aside, "Y" companies just don't tend to make it. Yet here comes Yenista, promoting its DWDM piece-parts, including tunable filters for 40 Gbit/s.

2. Xponent Photonics Inc. ... oh, wait -- maybe not. Details to come in a news story.

1. Gemfire Corp. ... OK, I'm cheating; I've heard its name at the past couple of OFCs. But a $37 million round is reason aplenty to cede the No. 1 seat to them.

Honorable mention: — Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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