Juniper Amasses 100G Optical Team
The Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) acquisition of CoreOptics has a little to do with it. But it's also another example of a company using vertical integration to satisfy its requirements for 100 Gbit/s. (See Cisco Renews Optical Focus With CoreOptics and Can Vendors Build Their Optical Components?.)
For Juniper, that meant adding optical expertise, something the company had before, but not in such quantity, says Luc Ceuppens, senior director of marketing for the infrastructure business.
"We've hired optical guys. We've actually hired a lot of optical guys," Ceuppens tells Light Reading.
That includes people across the spectrum -- not only network and subsystems experts, but physicists, he says. The total optical team, including newly hired salespeople, is "at least 10 times what we used to have," Ceuppens says. (He won't give specifics beyond that, but he confirms that "what we used to have" is more than one guy.)
One reason for doing things this way is that Juniper thinks it could be cheaper. Off-the-shelf components will stay expensive until volumes become substantial, which could take years. "People will expect these core routers to have optical interfaces too, and you can't keep doing it off-the-shelf," Ceuppens says.
Another factor is the Cisco/CoreOptics deal. Ceuppens acknowledges that the shrinking number of vendors helped drive Juniper in this direction, although he says it's not the reason.
Still, analyst Mark Lutkowitz, of Telecom Pragmatics Inc. , considers it a sign that the ramifications of Cisco's purchase are still playing out. His company issued a report recently that noted Juniper's coherent optics project and also discussed the effects of CoreOptics's disappearance from the open market.
And it really was a disappearance, Lutkowitz claims. Cisco isn't expected to continue offering CoreOptics's subsystems on the open market, and that's a complication for any customers that were counting on the startup. Nokia Networks was getting its coherent 40-Gbit/s subsystems from CoreOptics; reportedly, Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. was as well. (See CoreOptics Does Coherent 40G.)
Lutkowitz thinks CoreOptics went dark even before the Cisco acquisition was announced, refusing to give out information on pricing or product availability.
"It's not the end of the world, but it's had more of an impact than the announcement indicated," Lutkowitz says. "There were companies that were looking to CoreOptics, and now this kind of puts them behind."
A merchant market for coherent subsystems will still arise. Opnext Inc. (Nasdaq: OPXT) has been developing its own coherent 100-Gbit/s technology and is likely to come out with a subsystem, Lutkowitz thinks. And Oclaro Inc. (Nasdaq: OCLR), which acquired CoreOptics foil Mintera, seems likely to continue developing and offering subsystems. (See Opnext Makes Its 100G Move and Oclaro Adds Mintera to the Fold.)
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading