Optical/IP Networks

White Rock Gets Coarse

White Rock Networks is thinking small. At Supercomm 2002, the company will show off its new VLX1010 CWDM box, which the company says will allow eight fibers worth of traffic to be transported over a single fiber (see White Rock Intros CWDM Platform).

CWDM (coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM)) is a technology that can transport data economically because the optics required for it are less expensive than those of DWDM (dense WDM). The tradeoff is that it can only do so at shorter distances. White Rock's device handles eight ports running at 2.5 Gbit/s each and transmits for a distance of around 60 kilometers, depending on the fiber type.

The one-rack unit is a "spot solution" designed to multiply the fiber capacity in a carrier network over short distances, according to Andrew Knott, White Rock's VP of marketing. For example, the gear could be used to beef up capacity on specific fiber routes where the need is not large enough to justify buying a $100,000 DWDM system. If a carrier's need grows beyond its $10,000 CWDM unit, White Rock would happily sell its VLX2010 OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s) Sonet add/drop multiplexer (ADM) as a "graceful upgrade," Knott says.

An efficient, cost-effective CWDM box may be just the thing to get some quick sales onto White Rock's scorecard. But there are several equipment vendors -- such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), ONI Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ONIS), and Sorrento Networks Corp. (Nasdaq: FIBR) -- that have already announced similar CWDM boxes (see Cisco Adds CWDM to Switches and Sorrento Unveils CWDM Platform).

And even though it's got a new product, some may wonder: What about last year? The company grabbed headlines at Supercomm 2001 when it talked up its VLX2020 OC192 (10 Gbit/s) Sonet ADM, which is one-fifth the size and several thousand dollars less expensive than the OC192 transport boxes that were already shipping (see White Rock: 'Let's Get Small'). There don't appear to be any new customer developments in store for this year, and the box is still not shipping.

Fear not, says Knott. There's still pent-up demand for anyone that can make deployment of OC192 economically viable for metro networks. The problem, he explains, is that right now carriers are still working through their already purchased transport equipment inventory. "[Carriers] are still deploying circuits, and the network is still growing," he says. "However, nothing is cheaper than the equipment you already own."

It all adds up to a see-saw story for White Rock over the past twelve months. Here's how things have gone: White Rock closed a round of funding (see White Rock Feeds on More Funding), then expanded in late 2001 (see White Rock Expands), then sealed an agreement with Tellabs, then cut staff a few months later (see Tellabs Takes a New Tack and BrightLink, White Rock Cut Jobs).

White Rock says its VLX2020 (OC192 Sonet ADM) goes into trials with carriers next month and will be generally available in July. The company has not yet announced customers for any of its product lines, though it did announce shipments of its OC48 box, the VLX2010, to unnamed customers in January (see White Rock Ships OC48 Mux).

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com For more information on Supercomm 2002, please visit: Supercomm Special

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