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Optical components

Kodeos Gets Started With $12M

Ultra-secretive startup Kodeos Communications Inc. announced first-round funding of $12 million yesterday, which has forced it to come out of stealth mode ever-so-slightly (see Kodeos Cops $12 Million).

In fact, the money -- which comes in equal amounts from Highland Capital Partners and Jerusalem Venture Partners -- was secured back in January, but the startup waited until now to announce it, says Kodeos's founder and COO Gadi Lenz. Presumably, the startup wanted to put off the dread moment when it had to talk publicly about its plans.

Even now that it is talking, Kodeos is sticking to generalities. According to Lenz, the startup is developing optical transponders, initially for OC192 (10 Gbit/s) line speeds, and later for OC768 (40 Gbit/s). These products will be designed for long-haul 1550-nanometer systems, to improve the reach, lower the bit error rates, and increase the overall capacity of the system.

To attain these goals, Kodeos says it will tackle some of the effects that degrade an optical pulse as it travels down a fiber -- things like chromatic dispersion, polarization mode dispersion (PMD), and optical cross-talk, which occurs in systems with multiple wavelengths.

How will it do this? "We will apply signal processing techniques before launching the light into the fiber," says Lenz. In other words, the transponders will include logic circuits that tweak the electrical signal before it's turned into light and sent out onto the fiber. He won't say what signal processing techniques will be deployed, because that's where the company's key intellectual property lies.

Kodeos's VCs are equally tight-lipped about the technology, but relax a bit when it comes to talking about the startup's founders. "[Gadi Lenz and Jason Stark] were star performers at Bell Labs and are both experts in their fields," notes Glen Schwaber, general partner at JVP.

Lenz worked on a range of projects at Bell Labs, including integration using silicon optical benches, ultrafast optics, erbium-doped fiber, and non-linear fiber Bragg gratings. He worked down the hall from Stark, who headed up the advance modulation and coding project.

Interestingly, Stark was co-author of a recent paper in the journal Nature, which considered and attempted to calculate the effect of so-called "non-linearities" on the amount of data that could be sent down an optical fiber (see Physicists Find Fiber's Limit).

The paper points to a couple of ways in which it may be possible to increase the information carrying capacity of optical fiber. In particular, it suggests using multilevel signaling -- encoding the data in such a way that more than one bit of data is delivered per clock tick -- to reach very high capacities over long distances. Another possibility is frequency modulation.

Kodeos won't confirm or deny that it could be exploiting these ideas, leaving much to the imagination. But given Stark's expertise in advanced modulation schemes, we wouldn't discount them entirely. Indeed, Lenz says that the company's been receiving calls asking if it has anything in common with Kestrel Solutions Inc., a startup that's promoting frequency modulation (see Kestrel Quietly Reconfigures).

Kodeos plans to have product prototypes ready by the end of this year and has enough cash to last until mid-2002, by which time it expects to be shipping samples. It currently numbers 15 people.

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com
brillouin 12/4/2012 | 7:59:25 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M Please...

I hate when I see people talk about "new" modulation techniques and see that almost nobody thinks about the trade-offs when going to complex modulation. Anyone who has done any RF/microwave work will know that you trade-off two main things: bandwidth efficiency and transmission power/reach

What Kodeon is talking about was known in the old microwave and RF world as pre-distortion...and there's nothing new about it. In fact, you can think of soliton systems as predistorted signal systems. The only challenge is in doing this at ultra-fast bit rates.

Pauline Rigby 12/4/2012 | 7:59:25 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M If you know what Kodeos is doing, why don't you spill the beans here?

[email protected]
brillouin 12/4/2012 | 7:59:24 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M You don't have to know what they're doing.

I've never heard of them...actually, I probably haven't heard of 80% of the "ultra-secretive" start-ups with the next best thing out there.

from the article:
'"We will apply signal processing techniques before launching the light into the fiber," says Lenz. In other words, the transponders will include logic circuits that tweak the electrical signal before it's turned into light and sent out onto the fiber. He won't say what signal processing techniques will be deployed, because that's where the company's key intellectual property lies.'

Go to the IEEE website and look-up some pre-distortion articles on one of the microwave journals. Pre-distortion is an alternative to
equalization at the receive end...which is what your cellphone does.


My main problem is with companies claiming that they have some new concept when all they're doing is applying an old concept to fiber optics. This is an industry full of itself! :-)

brillouin 12/4/2012 | 7:59:23 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M "Ahh, but brillouin, there's a WORLD of difference between old line of sight microwave signals and lightwave. "

There's also a WORLD of similarities. Don't forget that radio has such a thing as a repeater...which is analogous to an optical amplifier...but mainly I was talking about similarities in the limitations and the trade-offs. What I'm saying is...if you transmit 1000km with OOK, don't expect to transmit the same distance, or with the same power, or be able to handle the same non-linearities with 4PSK, QAM, or any of the "new" modulation techniques optical guys are working on. In radio, if you have spectrum limitations, you went to 64QAM, 256QAM, 128TCM etc. and traded amplifier cost and link budget for spectrum efficiency.

"Recall that lightwave signals are far less immune to interference."

You still have ACP (Adjacent Channel Power) limitations right? Otherwise known in the optical world as 4 wave mixing. What about PMD, does that not give you transient "fading periods"?

"Additionally, you wouldn't need to regenerate the signal as often with optics as you would w/microwave."

Just depends on the medium and the wavelength/frequency of transmission...think about it.

"You're not talking apples to apples comparison."
More like Granny Smith to Mcintosh don't you think?

"Wake up Rip, it's a whole new technology nowadays..."

You're a funny guy. What do you think I work on? What do you think I'm doing here in LIGHTreading? Where do you think I used to work?
;-)

My whole point is that it's not new technology. My argument is not that microwave is better or not...bandwidth is bandwidth and economics is economics. I wasn't around for the glory days of microwave unfortunately. But I can tell you this: I've learned a lot from those guys. They are a good crowd.

Anyone want to hire an ex-RF Engineer?? :-)
tiredofit 12/4/2012 | 7:59:23 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M Ahh, but brillouin, there's a WORLD of difference between old line of sight microwave signals and lightwave. Recall that lightwave signals are far less immune to interference. Additionally, you wouldn't need to regenerate the signal as often with optics as you would w/microwave. You're not talking apples to apples comparison.

Wake up Rip, it's a whole new technology nowadays...
lightjudge 12/4/2012 | 7:59:22 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M Everyone can simply tell that this company is developing some EXPENSIVE transponders for 10G and/or 40G with the potential to give system some margin of a few fractional dB. Good luck!
CogswellCogs 12/4/2012 | 7:59:22 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M Oh no - "ultra-secretive", "tight-lipped"... so, is LightReading gonna give Kodeos the same amount of respect they gave Corvis? I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

Word of advice for Kodeos - tell LR everything about your technology, potential customers and business plan. Who cares if it ruins your competitive edge. The people have the right to know!!!!

Cogs
lightmaster 12/4/2012 | 7:59:21 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M The article states that Nonlinear effects are a result of multiple optical signals. Most of the issues talked about, like chromatic dispersion, PMD, etc. have nothing to do with muliple wavelengths but are more a factor of increased modulation speed / power of each individual wavelength.

What this company is trying to do sounds interesting. It doesn't really matter if it is totally "new" or not if they can execute on it better than competitors.

On the secretive nature, they would be absolutely stupid to give details at this point. They already have money and don't have anything to sell yet. What would it gain them?

What does give me cause for skepticism is that both founders come out of a pure research environment. From information on the web site, neither appears to have any experience outside of research projects. Researchers don't have to worry about real world issues like cost, management (how does it affect performance monitoring?), manufacturability, software, etc. We'll have to wait to see if they can turn a good lab project into something that has economic value and can be manufactured in volume. Good luck to them!
flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:59:20 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M The money is in metro/LH integration, not more LH efficiencies. We already have 200 channels @ OC 192 from four or five vendors.
brillouin 12/4/2012 | 7:59:14 PM
re: Kodeos Gets Started With $12M "The money is in metro/LH integration, not more LH efficiencies. We already have 200 channels @ OC 192 from four or five vendors."

True...for now. But it doesn't mean people or companies should stop developing right? It's just a matter of people realizing the realistic time-frame in which investments will be recovered.

You also hit a great point: Some of the techniques used to increase density are more appropriate to metro than LH...and I think this is one major point that a lot of people seem to miss.
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