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The problem was discovered last April, and all of the amplifiers had been replaced by the fourth quarter of 2001, according to Ferguson.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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kramer 12/4/2012 | 10:59:54 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Unfortuntately for many this prob is not limited to JDSU EDFAs, but to ALL companies making EDFAs with JDSU components...in particular the ones with EPOXY (like theirs pump multiplexers). Many, many, many companies have spent a lot of time, effort and of course money to repair this problem all thanks to our friends at JDSU!
Other Thoughts 12/4/2012 | 10:59:53 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall The market for optical components and subsystems is deteriorating everyday. The bulk of trustworthy industry and equity analysts do not expect recovery until 2003 (or early 2004). Long-haul business is rapidly tailing off, and along with that the most important target market for EDFA applications. There is excess EDFA manufacturing capacity and build up inventory throughout the supply chain. Valuations of optical component and subsystem startups are in all time low.

In this context, many players in the EDFA-like space would love this story to come out as it did. Article-readers belonging to dying startups are particularly prone to amplify the story to their advantage, desperately hoping that they could raise a little more cash at a valuation higher than the equivalent of a penny on the dollar.

Dream on! Even if something happens with powerhouse JDSU on the EDFA front (not likely), there are still plenty fine EDFA suppliers around such as Corning, Agere, Alcatel, Motorola (Synchronous), Nortel, Ditech (Ultramar), and Lucent ahead of failing startups in the EDFA selection pecking order.
Light_Path 12/4/2012 | 10:59:53 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall This part from JDSU is supposed to be GR-1209 and GR-1221 qualified. If so, it should last more than just a few years..

It is not the fault of Marconi, Cisco, Nortel, Lucent, Ciena or any of the vendors for this failure. These guys simply designed an EDFA using the best parts available at the time. JDS was supposed to be the world's leader in amp parts.

BTW, these parts were pre-E-TEK. E-TEK processes for making these parts is much better than JDS's old ways.

For those of you wondering about the component in question: It is not the 980/1550 coupler. Keep guessing...

Also, Marconi was not the one to find it first for JDS.. Marconi couldn't find the lightswitch in a lit room when it comes to EDFAs.
Half-Inch Stud 12/4/2012 | 10:59:53 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Too much pump?: I wonder if the green harmonic is absorbed by the epoxy?

Hmmm, I thought most 980/1550 MUX (couplers) were tapered-fused fiber couplers. Yet, those nifty 980/1550 Iso-Mux parts have micro-optic parts, possibly with reactable coatings, maybe epoxy.

"Epoxy darkening" sounds like a graceful aging failure mode....may not be so graceful huh. Perhaps some AR coatings are a real culprit.

Lots of cottage industry EDFA houses use the same low-cost, minimal-loss spec'd MUX/couplers....I think it is unfair to spotlight JDSU. Dangerous to point the finger when it could be an industry-wide alert.

H.I. Stud
FiberGuy 12/4/2012 | 10:59:52 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall "This part from JDSU is supposed to be GR-1209 and GR-1221 qualified. If so, it should last more than just a few years."

Unfortunatly, this is not the case as Bellcore testing only tests the packaging of the component and is NOT an active test (meaning with light passing through the component). From the sounds of it, GR-1209 or 1221 could not have found this issue.
erbiumfiber 12/4/2012 | 10:59:52 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Don't keep us in suspense as to the part. The article also alludes to filters. Maybe an edge filter for cutting out ASE?
Physical_Layer 12/4/2012 | 10:59:51 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall A previous post is suggesting that the problem does not lie in the 1550/980 coupler. Let's take a look at what we know:

1) It's an epoxy issue, confirmed from several sources

2) Problem wavelength is 2nd harmonic, so approx 1/2 of 980nm.

3) Components that see this light would be pump combiner and I guess isolator after the amp. Anything else in there?

So - maybe it's the isolator. JDS Fitel (old days) and E-TEK were the leading isolator vendors but E-TEK uses an epoxy-free path packaging technique.
kramer 12/4/2012 | 10:59:51 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall I think that this is a good test of how reliable Telcordia is...or perhpas how reliable certain campanies Telcordia test reports are.

The components effected are those passives using epoxy. This I am certain of.

self 12/4/2012 | 10:59:49 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall Any response from LR on Credit Suisse First Boston's opinion of this story?

"EDFA Recall Speculation. JDSU was trading down to $6.50 today on a recent story of a recall by Marconi of some JDSU amplifiers deployed by Telecom Italia. We believe that the supposed cause of failure (epoxy breakdown in the coupler
filter) is unlikely, since generally epoxy is not used in the single path of amplifiers. Even if some parts were recalled, we believe that the number involved is limited and does not extend
to JDSU EDFAs at other OEM customers."
kramer 12/4/2012 | 10:59:49 PM
re: JDSU in EDFA Recall This comment is completely wrong. This "epoxy" issue effects the passive components which use epoxy (that see high power 980nm light), this includes primarily the 980/1550 mux, but also isolators. Thus it has had a huge impact on not only JDSU EDFAs, but also on all the other EDFA makers who use these components....so nice try CSFB!
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