Optical/IP Networks

LR Launches ROADM Survey

The reconfigurable add/drop multplexer (ROADM) has been a hot topic in the news and at tradeshows for some time, and a continued string of carrier requests for proposals (RFPs) is fueling interest in the space.

On the systems side, more and more vendors are jumping into the ROADM game. Big names such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) are moving in, and some of the upstarts are getting support as well. Tropic Networks Inc., for example, picked up a reseller deal with Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) just today. (See Supercomm: A ROADM Show?, Cisco, Meriton Join ROADM Gang, and Alcatel Tops Up Tropic.)

The interest trickles down to the components world, where vendors are falling over each other to provide the filters and blockers that are at the heart of the ROADM (see ROADM Vendors Perk Up).

So what are these things, exactly? ROADMs enhance a DWDM network by allowing wavelengths to be added or dropped at each node. They can also be set to create an express lane that lets wavelengths pass without stopping. The kicker is that these wavelength assignments can be turned on and off at will, creating a flexible, optical network that's cheap and easy to provision.

To help sort out what's going on, Light Reading is compiling "Who Makes What: ROADMs." The report enlists the aid of readers to build a roll call of the players in the ROADM space, be they systems or components vendors. Categories include:

  • Equipment vendors
  • Switching components
    • Small switches
    • Matrix switches (8x8 and larger)
    • Reconfigurable OADM devices
  • Wavelength blockers
  • Tunable filters

As in previous "Who Makes What" installments, additions and corrections are encouraged. If there's something we've missed or misplaced, please note your displeasure on the report's message board. Or, better yet, email us at [email protected].

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

For further education, visit the archives of related Light Reading Webinars:

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
photonsu 12/5/2012 | 1:25:02 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey Over the last few years we witnessed the closure of Clarendon and other ROADM vendors, and several MEMs switch companies that had good technology, but had to sell their wares at the cost of passive optical mux technologies in order to meet the cost constraints of the carriers.

If it were up to me I'd starve the carriers of any and all xWDM technology and let them pull fiber. Maybe the additional fiber in their diet will help them understand the value of the technology that they seem to want for free.
johnwslim 12/5/2012 | 1:25:01 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey What technology is Tropic's ROADM built upon? Any guess who supplies optical components?
deer_in_the_light 12/5/2012 | 1:24:59 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey Wavelength Blockers
deer_in_the_light 12/5/2012 | 1:24:59 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey http://www.tropicnetworks.com/...
dwdm2 12/5/2012 | 1:24:58 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey These days I find myself busy with many unuseful things than gossiping on the LR. But this is a good one. Pull all the fibers and add'em in diet! Correct me please, but your satire is not clear whether you're for or against fiber (I mean optical fiber), and I know I suffer from humor impairment.

If the carriers don't understand the value of having fiber capabilities, then "penalizing them by barring from WDM products," is that a viable route? In fact, many hardware manufacturers sends their recipe to China and other places to have the add/drops made for dime a dozen. So its not going to be easy pursuing this route. And ironic thing is that this cheap but low grade parts are causing a pseudo balance between supply and demand. The down side is that this cpeaper parts are not reliable enough for a widespread deplyment of fiber, and because it is not reliable, no one can take risk of deploying'em widely. So this catch twenty two cycle need to be broken. And on that I certainly agree with you.

But what is a viable way of doing it?
photonsu 12/5/2012 | 1:24:57 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey dwdm2,

I'm for optical communications all the way. But I think we don't do ourselves any favors by bowing before the Bellheads! They only have their interest in mind. And perhaps that is as it should be, but we suppliers, components and systems guys let them dictate the form of the solutions too much IMHO, even when we know they are on a fishing expedition.

As an example, look to AFC's situation where to win the FTTP contract they are asked to deliver against a schedule they can not possibly meet, with stiff financial penalties. How can this weakening of the supplier be in their long term interest? Maybe it was built into the good (carrier)revenue numbers we've heard of late!

Unfortunately, I think the cold winter will continue much longer. Why would anyone invest in a ROADM vendor when the volumes and prices can't yield a profit greater than the old stuff? The only way out is sustained purchasing of the technology, and that will not happen until FTTH drives the bandwidth mobile into a better future.


Peter Heywood 12/5/2012 | 1:24:56 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey Does anybody have an up-to-date list of the major RFPs for ROADMs, and what their status is?

In past articles, we've listed Verizon, Bell South and SBC as having RFPs in this area. We've also cited MCI/Worldcom and Time Warner.

The mood on whether these are serious RFPs that will result in big orders still seems to blow hot and cold on a regular basis.

Vent 12/5/2012 | 1:24:55 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey Can LR also include some beginners guide to Roadms.
I keep getting very confused about Roadms and when is a Roadm a Roadm and not a fixed OADM
when its just got tunable filters so we've just got some drop reconfigurable drop but fixed add or when you have Tx slots filled but not used or when you have a true tunable laser.
Can you explain the different architectures, broadcast and select etc and also east west separablity and is it important ?
It would be good to get some views on deployment of the various flavours from fixed to partial to fully functional (with tunable lasers). Is it a case of letGÇÖs put the Roadm in now and later on we can fit the linecards with the lasers to give full flexibility
own_your_own_net 12/5/2012 | 1:24:54 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey Reconfigurable OADMs do not *require* tunable lasers. A ROADM is an OADM that can *dynamically* decide which wavelengths are added/dropped at the OADM site. This is a seperate issue from having transceivers that have tunable lasers/receivers, which adds another degree of freedom. One could design a dynamic system with one, the other, or both technologies.
photonsu 12/5/2012 | 1:24:53 AM
re: LR Launches ROADM Survey Where is Nanovation, OMM and Clarendon when you need them????

Lost to the carrier's own junk pile!

All Hail to the RBOCS, et al.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Sign In