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Optical/IP

JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories

JDS Uniphase Inc. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) turned heads today by announcing a "breakthrough" optical component that combines DWDM and multiport switching capabilities (see JDSU Unveils Optical Wavelength Switch).

The company says it hopes to build products based on this prototype that will cut the costs of making and deploying optical networking. The switch will reduce the space and cost of a DWDM-based switching fabric, JDSU says, while upping the amount of capacity available. Unfortunately, JDSU can't say when it will be able to do this. It isn't even ready with samples. "We cannot provide a schedule in terms of the progress and availability of the product," says a spokesperson.

Intriguingly, JDSU is basing its innovation not on spiffy, new science but on tried-and-true (and some say passé) MEMS technology, wherein thousands of tiny tilting mirrors direct light to its destination.

In recent months, industry sources have argued that MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) is old-fashioned due to its reliance on mechanical elements (see OMM and Altamar Buys a Bargain). Vendors who already offer MEMS-based optical switch modules, including OMM Inc., haven't shown signs of rapid market acceleration.

OMM says that, while its wares are being tested by many customers, it knows of just three trials underway of gear based on its devices. And Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), which makes the switch module for its own LambdaRouter optical switch, has released information on just two customers (see Lucent's LambdaRouter Turns Japanese) -- one of them, troubled Global Crossing Ltd. (NYSE: GX).

JDSU says it's got a new take on MEMS that allows it not only to switch light but to pick the wavelengths going from one port to another. This capability isn't yet featured in competing products such as those from OMM.

But OMM says it could beat JDSU to the punch. "They have yet to demo a MEMS-based optical switching module that meets Telcordia specs," says Conrad Burke, senior VP of marketing and sales at OMM. In contrast, OMM is already shipping a 32-by-32-wavelength switch approved by Telcordia Technologies Inc., which may make it easier to gain approval for new modifications.

Burke also questions whether JDSU will have any-to-any switching capabilities in a timely fashion. JDSU's news release says its prototype packs ten ports, switching 65 wavelengths in the L-band (1570 nm to 1620 nm) into a gadget that fits on a standard circuit card (JDSU won't give specific dimensions).

In contrast, OMM's 200-by-280-by-35mm switch can forward light to any of the 32 wavelengths (1290 nm to 1610 nm) in its fabric. Of course, the wavelength selection capability is yet to come, Burke acknowledges.

JDSU says future plans include higher port counts. Also, the new switch will work in the more conventional C band wavelengths (1520 nm to 1570 nm).

Observers are left with many questions. Can JDSU make its MEMS-based switch into a real product? Will OMM and Lucent make good on their existing wares?

Some say that, whatever happens, it's naive to dismiss JDSU's claims based on its use of MEMS. "MEMS is an essential technology that's proven and network-ready," says Saeid Aramideh, VP of product management at Iolon Inc., which makes tunable lasers. He says the market slowdown, not lack of viability, have hit makers of MEMS switch modules hard, noting that JDSU's news is "a step in the right direction... toward dynamic and flexible network architectures."

If anyone can make a viable product of a prototype like this, it's probably JDSU, which already has well established methods for making all kinds of optical components. JDSU also has testing tools, including its own swept laser system, which it says enabled it to make this prototype and would presumably allow it to develop real products effectively later on.

JDSU, Lucent, and OMM will all be exhibiting at the upcoming Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibit (OFC)

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com Want to learn more about the impact of testing and measurement on the manufacture of optical equipment? Tune in to Light Reading’s upcoming Webinar: "Optical Test Equipment in Manufacturing: Automation is Key," set for February 28. Click the following link to register: http://www.lightreading.com/webinars.asp#11506
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gea 12/4/2012 | 10:53:04 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories Waitaminute...

What are W-DCSs and B-DCSs but automated provisioning gizmos? With that logic, the Tellium box is merely the next step up in granularity.

BUT...I think one of these things that really allowed the big DCCs to get rolling was a nice SONET standard that allowed them to participate in multiple BLSRs, cross coneecting between rings, and so on. Thi allowed the DCS o be more than merely an auotmated patch panel.

The Tellium folks are smart, because they recognized that their box needed to add more value than merely being an automated patch panel, so loh and behold! They've been a major driver in the UNI at OIF. Thus, the Tellium boxes will peform optical layer protection and reconfiguration in MPLS-centric optical networks.
flanker 12/4/2012 | 10:53:02 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories Having to splice in a mux/demux with a 8x8 or
32 x 32 port switch count sounds costly to me even if the fiber is ribbonized. What customers want is a mux/demux fully integrated with a wavelength switching fabric without any fiber routing issues.


Can you please elaborate?

Thanks in advance.
Physical_Layer 12/4/2012 | 10:52:57 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories As I recall, JDS talked about this product in a lot of detail on Dec 11 when they held an investor day in the US (it was webcast too). It was one of the last presentations. Sounds like a neat product because it's a free-space mux/demux (diffraction grating) and the MEMS are integrated right into the product, so you save a lot of interconnect costs as already mentioned by a previous poster. Apparently JDS has a DGE based on the same principle, but it uses LC switching instead of MEMS.
flanker 12/4/2012 | 10:52:56 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories Sounds like a neat product because it's a free-space mux/demux (diffraction grating) and the MEMS are integrated right into the product.

Anyone, feel free to jump in and elaborate.

:)
SiO2 12/4/2012 | 10:52:53 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories Tony Li writes:

> The application for such cross connects
> is as a POP interconnect. You plug all
> of your DWDM, ADMs, routers, test gear,
> etc. into the OXC. And now, through a
> little bit of magic, you have a fully
> automated patch panel that allows you
> to reconfigure your network on a whim.
> This allows you to cut provisioning time.
> You can conceivably automate you network
> reconfigurations. You can do wavelength
> engineering, not just traffic engineering.

true, and of course this also applies to
failure and restoration scenarios. an
additional benefit is the reduction in
transponder usage (and their associated
cost) that you get by switching your
transit traffic using a transparent
cross-connect.

SiO2


flanker 12/4/2012 | 10:52:51 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories true, and of course this also applies to
failure and restoration scenarios. an
additional benefit is the reduction in
transponder usage (and their associated
cost) that you get by switching your
transit traffic using a transparent
cross-connect.


Don't you get power loss with an OXC? So you'd need amplification elsewhere?
flanker 12/4/2012 | 10:52:47 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories "JDS UniphaseGÇÖs prototype tests showed results that would enable such devices to be cascaded in a system: typical insertion loss was 5.0 dB, the 0.5 dB passband was >50% of the channel spacing and the extinction ratio was >45 dB. Signals traveling in such a system could pass through multiple, reconfigurable optical nodes without converting to the electrical domain, enabling new lower cost dynamic optical network architectures including reconfigurable mesh topologies."
Tony Li 12/4/2012 | 10:52:43 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories Don't you get power loss with an OXC?
-----------------


Of course. But if the point is a POP interconnect, then you're connecting (say) a router to a DWDM unit that are physically 100 yards apart and 500 fiber feet apart. Even with
SR, there's plenty of margin.

Tony
manoflalambda 12/4/2012 | 10:52:05 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories Hey all,

Is this product similar to the one described by a couple of Bell Labs folks in the Jan 02 WDM Solutions (pgs 7-8) (Which was also presented at a recent conference... ).

The article shows a 72x72 MEMs chip and a Waveguide stack.

Salute,
Manoflalambda
Pauline Rigby 12/4/2012 | 10:46:59 PM
re: JDSU: MEMS Aren't Just Memories >>>Agere/Lucent also reported something like that. See Is this product similar to the one described by a couple of Bell Labs folks in the Jan 02 WDM Solutions (pgs 7-8) (Which was also presented at a recent conference... ).

The article shows a 72x72 MEMs chip and a Waveguide stack.

-----

Could be? We also reported the Bell Labs thing here:

http://www.lightreading.com/do...

[email protected]
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