Comms chips

OFC/NFOEC 2009 Roundup

Another year, another OFC/NFOEC. [Ed. note: There ya go, Craig. That'll shake those readers out of their recession doldrums and get them motivated!] Here are summaries of a few products Light Reading encountered at the show:

DWDM: Off the shelf
Nokia Networks continued to pile onto its hiT 7300 DWDM platform with Release 4.25, announced this week. You'll recall the company pushed the hiT 7300 last summer for its support of a wide range of distances. (See NSN Unveils New 40G Platform and NSN Unveils Unified Optical Platform.)

Among the noteworthy new items: a tunable circuit pack (think "linecard") for 40-Gbit/s transmission. It's the "circuit pack" part that's important; until now Nokia Siemens was using transponder shelves from Opnext Inc. (Nasdaq: OPXT) -- through its acquisition of Stratalight -- for 40 Gbit/s transport. (See Opnext Steps Up With StrataLight.)

The new circuit pack was designed in-house, says Pathmal Gunawardana, head of business development for Nokia Siemens's optical connectivity products.

Nokia Siemens is also adding a small photonic crossconnect, to keep signals in the optical domain while switching them between nodes.

Nokia Siemens also says the box can intertwine 40-channel and 80-channel environments (also referred to as 100-GHz and 50-GHz spacing). In other words, a 40-channel link can be connected directly into an 80-channel node without having to use back-to-back transponders to "translate" between the two sides. "We do it all in the common photonic layer," Gunawardana says.

As for 100-Gbit/s transport, it's not there yet, but the support for it is embedded in Release 4.25, according to Gunawardana.

Rounding out ROADMs
Capella Photonics Inc. has a 1x18 wavelength selective switch (WSS) that's about to go into a couple of top-tier carrier lab trials right after OFC/NFOEC. More might be on the way, as carriers at the show were indicating strong interest in the part, claimed VP of marketing Jamie Reloj.

A WSS is a key ingredient for a ROADM, but the more common size for them is 1x9 -- meaning up to nine wavelengths can be added or dropped from a DWDM stream.

The 1x18 WSS is a followup to the CR50, Capella's 1x9 part that can handle 50 GHz spacing (enough to accommodate 80 DWDM wavelengths). The CR50 has been shipping for about six months.

Consdering it's just about to hit labs, the 1x18 subsystem won't be seeing production volumes for a year or more. How quickly Capella goes to market will depend partly on how carriers react to the trials, Reloj says.

Pieces of 10G EPON
Chipmaker Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) notes that a burst Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) is going to be a requirement for 10-Gbit/s EPON. Guess who's come out with an announcement of a burst SerDes for 10 Gbit/s EPON?

The issue is that upstream traffic will be arriving in bursts. Most SerDes [ed. note: the plural of SerDes is SerDes] will have trouble with that, because the phase-locked loop inside the chip won't be able to lock onto the signal quickly enough after it starts, a problem Vitesse says it's beaten.

The SerDes in question is called the 8479-01, and it's a followup to Vitesse's 8479 chip. (See Vitesse Intros 10G-EPON IC.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

For more coverage of OFC/NFOEC, click here.

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