Optical/IP Networks

Agere's 3D MEMS Switch 'Not First'

Agere Systems, the components spinoff of Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), today claimed a “first” in optical switching subsystems. The big question is whether it will stay first for very long.

Here’s the score. Agere reckons it will be the first to produce a 64x64 port switching subsystem based on three-dimensional micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) in a production line environment (see Agere Unveils MEMS Optical Switch Bit).

It plans to demonstrate a prototype at the upcoming Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) conference in March, ship samples to selected customers in the second quarter, and deliver “production quantities” in the third quarter.

The demo at OFC is quite a big deal if Agere manages to pull it off, because previous demos of large-scale 3D MEMS switches at trade shows haven’t lived up to their billing in terms of the numbers of ports actually carrying traffic (see Xros's OFC Splash Was All Wet for instance).

However, plenty of other vendors are also developing 3D MEMS switching subsystems, and at least one of them, OMM Inc., is hoping to beat Agere out of the gate.

“It’s our intention to deliver a 3D product as early as April this year,” says Conrad Burke, OMM’s senior VP of marketing and sales. The subsystem will be in the form of a “pay as you grow” rack which will accommodate modules. “The intention is to deliver a 64x64 configuration first,” Burke adds.

OMM is probably in a better position than Agere to convince customers to buy its 3D system. “We’ve already got very significant customer commitment,” notes Burke, pointing to strategic partnerships with Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV), Siemens AG (Frankfurt: SIE), and Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR).

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

voyeur 12/4/2012 | 8:50:44 PM
re: Agere's 3D MEMS Switch 'Not First' I usually give you guys the benefit of the doubt, but you seem to be buying into the OMM marketing plan. At this time, I don't believe any of the strategic partners you mentioned have any announced MEMS switches (in fact, Corvis usually denies MEMS and Alcatel suppposedly is allied with Agilent and their 'bubble' technology). At least Agere is aligned with Lucent, which does have the Lambda Router, which has been tested and possibly shipping to Global Crossing. This is not to say that the 64x64 switch is part of that system, but come on. At least mention the other vendors, as well as other possible partners for Agere. Maybe label the article with a question mark, versus a period - which seems to make a statement versus bringing up other possibilities.
manoflalambda 12/4/2012 | 8:50:43 PM
re: Agere's 3D MEMS Switch 'Not First' The 64x64 unit is not in LambdaRouter but the technology is similar.

kiz100 12/4/2012 | 8:50:41 PM
re: Agere's 3D MEMS Switch 'Not First' The 64x64 may cost 10 mil each and need replacement every 6 hours.
photonic 12/4/2012 | 8:50:38 PM
re: Agere's 3D MEMS Switch 'Not First' When did an intention to ship by April become
the reality that OMM is first?

frankie 12/4/2012 | 8:50:14 PM
re: Agere's 3D MEMS Switch 'Not First'
>When did an intention to ship by April become
>the reality that OMM is first?

When 'journalism' becomes biased regurgitation
of marketingware. C'mon LightReading, don't you
folks realize how blatantly biased and generally
stupid this article is?

For shame....
Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 8:50:10 PM
re: Agere's 3D MEMS Switch 'Not First' You have a point. Agere doesn't know if it will be first to ship a 64x64 3D MEMS switch, and I don't know that it won't.

So, a back eye for both of us, I'd say.
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