JDSU in EDFA Recall

Evidence has come to light indicating that JDS Uniphase Inc. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) has had to replace hundreds of defective Erbium Doped-Fiber Amplifiers (EDFAs) in equipment that at least one of its customers had already shipped to carriers.

The customer in question, Marconi PLC (Nasdaq/London: MONI) had to recall “a few hundred” amplifiers with faulty JDSU EDFAs, according to Steve Ferguson, Marconi’s photonics market strategy manager.

The problem was discovered last April, and all of the amplifiers had been replaced by the fourth quarter of 2001, according to Ferguson. Marconi had kept careful records of the part numbers used in the manufacture of the amplifiers and was thus able to locate them quickly. Ferguson says JDSU was very helpful in getting the suspect parts replaced.

Telecom Italia was one of the carriers that had to return amplifiers to Marconi after encountering problems, according to Ferguson. “We might have been the first to find the problem," he adds. Telecom Italia’s amplifiers have particularly powerful pump lasers that might have resulted in early failure of JDSU’s EDFAs.

Ferguson says the problem occurred because the pump lasers generated harmonics that caused epoxy in the EDFAs to deteriorate, and this in turn led to problems with couplers embedded in the epoxy. He wasn’t absolutely sure that it was couplers; it may have been filters, as another source suggests.

Ferguson didn’t know whether other systems vendors using JDSU’s EDFAs had recalled amplifiers, or whether the whole problem was now in the past.

One source, who requested anonymity, indicates the problem with JDSU's EDFAs may not be limited to Marconi. It's possible that other JDSU customers -- perhaps including Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) -- have experienced problems similar to Marconi's. Neither Lucent nor Nortel was able to comment at press time.

A JDSU spokesperson says she is unaware of any product recalls or of the situation at Telecom Italia.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, and Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
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vermillion 12/4/2012 | 10:37:01 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall For those who still care about failures of epoxy in the light path, and specifically, the JDSU EDFA recall reported last month.


Corrupted from "Green Eggs and Ham," by Dr. Seuss.
Corruption by --DR. D.--
As told to Vermillion by DR. D

--JDS-You (thats who to you!)--

You are who?
--JDS-YOU! And how do you do?--

--Say, I have something here that--s gold for you,
Yes, I have something special that--s old yet brand new,
Couldn--t you use some green light and glue?--

But I do not want green light and glue!
--You do not want green light and glue?--
I do not use them, JDS-You.

--Could you, would you, with a waiver?--
I would not, could not, with a waiver!

--Would you, could you, as a favor?"
I could not, would not, as a favor.

I can not, will not, not with a waiver.
I could not, would not, not as a favor.
I will not use them as a 2nd source.
I will not use them as my last resorts.
Not at low cost! Not if they--re free!
Not with zero loss! You let me be!

I will not buy them for my neat new device.
I will not buy them at your sweet --n-- low price.
I do not buy them, no not even by proxy.
I do not use them, even with new epoxy.
I cannot and will not, not with re-work,
I could not and would not, not for a perk,

Not green light and glue,
It--s not very neat
Not for many hours,
And not at high heat,
No, not at my powers!

Not with a fix,
And not with smart tricks.
Please, not with a filter!
What if that's out-of-kilter?

For once it's been bought,
Just one nano-Watt,
And my whole EDFA--s SHOT!

I do not use them here or there.
I do not use them ANYWHERE!
I do not use green light and glue!
I do not use them, JDS-You.

BigFiberDog 12/4/2012 | 10:59:14 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Myself and My Company have spent the last 15 years working with High Power Fiber Optics and High Power Co-Doped YbEDFA's. As we learned abut 10 years ago. Optical components can never, never have any Epoxy. EVERTHING outgasses. A lot of us had chemistry backgrounds and did a lot of research and found the lowest outgassing component epoxy possible and still it was not enough. We beat severly on E-TEK and got them to take it out very early, but those guys in Ottawa were way to arrogant.
[email protected] 12/4/2012 | 10:59:32 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Hi Component Guy

Would you mind speaking with me very briefly, your post(s) intrigues.

best wishes

flybylite 12/4/2012 | 10:59:34 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Hey ComponentGuy,

I think it was well documented that JDSU wrote off $50bGǪ. so I wouldnGt call it a rumor.

So does this mean that Gould is really closing down the MD & PA facilities??? I was just trying to get a confirmation on a rumor.

ComponentGuy 12/4/2012 | 10:59:35 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Hey F-B-L,
I heard JDSU wrote off $50 billion last year, any truth to that rumor? What does current business conditions have to do with the discussion?

JDSU is a fine company and would not have become the industry leader they are had it not been for their making good products.

We all use epoxies in the products we make, the point I was trying to make was that the use of epoxies in high power applications needs to be better understood and the industry can not solely rely on 1209/1221 for long term reliability under these conditions.

Finally so we don't mislead more folks on the board.
1. For WDMs FBT vs filter each has its merits as you state. I would only correct the point the the FBT has the lower insertion loss and lower cost but does not have the passband capability of the filter technology.
2. For the taps the same is true the FBT will have lower insertion loss and lower cost but it will have higher PDL. So you pick what you need for your application.
3. I agree the issue of outgassing of the epoxy to affect the fused region is negligible.
4. Gould offers both FBT and filter based products.

P.S. I do work for an optical component company.
flybylite 12/4/2012 | 10:59:36 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Hey ComponentGuy,

Latest word I heard was that your company was getting ready to shut down the MD & PA manufacturing groups and only bring in the FBT couplers from India. Any truth to that rumor?

Now for the rest of the misled folks on this board, letGs all realize the perspectives:

ComponentGuy works for a company (most likely Gould) that only makes FBT (Fused Biconical Taper) couplers. This technology is very good for certain applications. The primary draw-back is the wavelength response respective to the amount of optical power transmitted from an input port to an output port. The wavelength response is roughly like a sine wave. (Actually a sine-squared curve) Another issue can be PDL (Polarization Dependent Loss) for tap couplers built using FBT process. The GlasSolder discussed supports the fused area of the fiber above a fused quartz substrate to eliminate thermal effects and strain. All discussion about outgassing epoxies and contaminating the fused region are really just hype and in practice donGt create a problem.

JDSU has a long history of building of building some of the best dicrohic (sp?) filter couplers in the world. This is a technology where you coat a filter on a very thin piece of glass and then sandwich the filter between two GRIN (Gradient Refractive Index) lens and then sandwich this between ferrules containing one or more fibers. The nice thing about these devices is that you can tailor shape the filter with coating techniques. This allows one to build components that can direct the optical power without the limitations of the sine-squared curve. One can also use coating techniques to build very good tap couplers with very low PDL.

Now letGs go way back a number of yearsGǪ.. JDSU and Gould both made many of the early components for EDFAs. In fact, both probably made couplers for some of the first EDFA experiments in South Hampton (sp?). In the end, JDSU really dominated the 980/1550 WDM market for EDFAs because of their technology. EDFA manufacturers did not want to accommodate the varying losses in the 1550nm C band that would have resulted from using FBT technology.

I think itGs this long competition on the merits of one process v. the other that has led to this spin on JDSU.

In reality, many of these couplers had serial numbers that were tracked to EDFAs. EDFAs also used serial numbers that systems houses tracked when they put the EDFAs in their systems. This allowed the systems companies to systematically replace any EDFAs that may degrade over time. Near as I can tell from comments in the industry and postings, this failure mechanism was very gradual. And if I understand it properly, very predictable. IGve also heard that this problem was discovered long ago and was solved by JDSU. IsnGt this why systems companies make line cards in a system? So you can replace them if you observe a failure.

Bottom lineGǪ.. I think this is a classic case of people with some information and not a true understanding of the science involved blowing something way out of proportion.


P.S. I donGt work for an optical component company.

donethat 12/4/2012 | 10:59:38 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall I was in optical systyms for 25 years, and got burned twice with epoxy...the first time in a multiplexing device produced by a vendor whose name starts with a "G", back in 1983. When we started producing product for SDH markets, we were told that epoxy in the laser packages would not be accepted...I"m surprised to hear that "it's back!"
ComponentGuy 12/4/2012 | 10:59:40 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall e-fiber said:

"Unfortunately the best alternative to polymers would be solder glasses but I am told that one company has tied up these techniques in broad patents, the down side of our I.P. system I suppose."

Fortunate or unfortunate depends upons which side of the fence your sitting on (I work for the company with the GlasSolder patents) ;)

I concur that this should be a concern for the industry because everyone including us has focused so heavily on the Telecordia 1209/1221 as the end all to component reliability.
I cringe a little at trying to speak for the authors of the Telecordia specs but I'm sure that in the development of these tests there was no consideration at the time that there would be sufficient optical energy in the fiber that it could somehow get out of the fiber and have some effect on surronding materials and components. Indeed all of the tests are measuring the effect of outside factors (temperature, humidity, shock and vibration)on the part under test. There is no part of 1209/1221 that says you should put high optical power through the part for an extended period of time and measure the resultant effect. To my knowledge even the most recent March 2001 issue does not broach the subject. So a lot of work and testing needs to be done to fully understand the phenomenon and develop a test methodology that will reflect the long term relibility of passive components that carry high optical power levels.
e-fiber 12/4/2012 | 10:59:44 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall These revelations are somewhat worrisome because most basic fiber components be they planar, bulk optic (free space)or fused devices rely on polymers in their fabrication and packaging.Excess loss is defined as that light which is wasted or absorbed within the devices. Polymer degradation may increase this loss in a number of ways: Structurally- movement or shrinkage in a bulk optic or planar device will cause misalignments, in a fused device will cause stress on the coupling region (Which could result in actual crack growth)
Out gassing- If the polymer begins to break down chemically, it can produce gassing which in a very small sealed enclosure will wind up in unfortunate places. If chemicals deposit on the surface of lenses or filters this will cause problems obviously, but in a fused device, if chemicals deposit on the fused region additional excess loss will result (this is because in a fused device the fiber core is drawin so thin that light escapes into and propagates in the cladding, so that that the air acts as the cladding in the fused region. The air-fiber interface becomes critical to device performance and any contamination will result in increased loss)
The worrisome thing is these mechanisms tend to be degenerative, i.e. light leakage within the device(excess loss)cause changes to polymer structure which in turn causes more leakage and thus more polymer degradation in an accelerating process. Of course this is best understood in the primary wavelenth range and behavior of harmonics is somewhat different.
Unfortunately the best alternative to polymers would be solder glasses but I am told that one company has tied up these techniques in broad patents, the down side of our I.P. system I suppose.
manoflalambda 12/4/2012 | 10:59:44 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Hmmm. JDSU has recently had other flammability issues (of the 94V0 type... ).

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