Tunable Lasers Revisited
Nearly two years ago, Light Reading published a groundbreaking report introducing tunable lasers – devices that can switch from one wavelength to another on demand (see Tune In!).
Tunable lasers promised to revolutionize the optical networking industry by keeping a lid on the problem of the escalating cost of buying, stocking, and managing spares for DWDM equipment. And that was just for starters. Other applications for tunable lasers stretched from enabling automated network provisioning to reconfigurable network architectures.
How much of this has come to pass? Sadly, a lot less than expected. The bursting of the optical bubble has delayed carriers' plans for deployment of tunable lasers and put financial pressure on the companies developing the technology.
But tunable laser technology refuses to die. In fact, vendors remain quietly confident that their patience will be rewarded in the not too distant future. "In two years time, every laser will be a tunable laser," contends James Regan, managing director, Europe, for Agility Communications Inc. Regan says his confidence comes from talking with service provider customers that are now making concrete plans for deployment, as opposed to just talking the talk, as they did a few years ago.
If true, then the market is poised for takeoff, making it one of the few areas of optical components technology that looks set to do so – all the more reason to revisit the topic of tunable lasers.
Like the previous report, this article aims to provide a balanced overview of the market opportunity, technologies, and vendors of tunable lasers. The competitive landscape has changed considerably from two years ago, as some vendors have been swallowed up by the optical depression, and new ones have appeared to replace them. Vendors have also refined the business case for using tunable lasers, and this is detailed in the report.
This report can be read sequentially, or alternatively, simply click to the page of interest using the following hyperlinks:
- Business Case
- Market Overview
- Technology & Vendor Survey:
- Business Case
- Beginner's Guide: Laser Basics
- Beginner's Guide: Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM)
- Beginner's Guide: Distributed Feedback (DFB) Lasers
- Beginner's Guide: Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs)
- Beginner's Guide: Tunable Lasers
As usual, this report was previewed in a Light Reading Webinar sponsored by two leading vendors of tunable lasers: Agility Communications Inc. and Iolon Inc.
The Webinar is archived here.