Optical components

Oplink Nabs Accumux

Oplink Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: OPLK) added dispersion compensation to its roster by scooping up startup Accumux Technologies Inc. earlier this month, according to SEC documents.

Oplink exchanged 600,000 shares for Accumux, making the deal worth $1.6 million, according to a 10-Q form filed recently. Accumux's headcount is unknown.

Oplink officials declined to comment for now. "We will be sending out a press release in the next couple of days," a spokeswoman says.

Dispersion compensation is necessary for correcting the distortion a signal experiences while traversing long distances of fiber, particularly at speeds of 10 Gbit/s or faster. (For a detailed explanation of the problem, see Chromatic Dispersion and Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD).)

That could make Accumux a good fit with RedClover Networks Inc., the transponder vendor Oplink acquired in November (see Oplink Plucks RedClover).

Much of Accumux's competition comes from electronic dispersion compensation (EDC), chip-based technology that vendors say is cheaper and simpler than optical methods. The list includes well known chip names such as Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC) and Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS), as well as startups such as Big Bear Networks, Phyworks Ltd., and Scintera Networks Inc. Other startups, like Aelis Photonics Inc., use equalization to clean up signals in general, a method that corrects dispersion and other problems (see Dispersion Battles Continue).

Given the slow market and the number of companies involved in it, it's not surprising to see Accumux get acquired. Some players are dropping out as well; EDC startup Santel Networks Inc. abandoned the telecom world last summer (see Santel Has Left the (Telecom) Building).

EDC got a bit of a boost in the 10-Gbit/s Ethernet realm recently. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) in January voted to standardize an EDC-based alternative to the CWDM-based technology called 10GBase-LX4, which was intended to send 10-Gbit/s Ethernet down older fiber (see Chip Vendors Vie for Multimode Market). The vote means that a standards group will be formed, with details to be discussed at future IEEE meetings.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

For more on 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, see the Light Reading Webinar, Putting 10-Gigabit Ethernet to Work

xyzzz 12/5/2012 | 2:23:32 AM
re: Oplink Nabs Accumux Oplink's reputation is too bad to have RedClover CTO and the Director of Engineering on board. Photoniko guys make transponder for Oplink instead. Photoniko claims that it only use thermal control to tune laser over 8 DWDM 50GHz channels without wavelength locker (is it a joke?). All RedClover principal and senior engineers either left or were kicked out.
Problem Child 12/5/2012 | 2:23:20 AM
re: Oplink Nabs Accumux What a shame. I know the Accumux guys; their board wasted such a great team. Penny-wise, pound-foolish. Sort of like what the Oplink board did when it got rid of its R&D people a few years back (a-hem!). Hmm, birds of a feather. I wonder what was NOT reported to the SEC . . . What a surprize that no one wants to comment. I'd love to hear what an insider has to say.

Problem Child 12/5/2012 | 2:23:19 AM
re: Oplink Nabs Accumux xyzzz wrote:
"Oplink's reputation is too bad to have RedClover CTO and the Director of Engineering on board . . . All RedClover principal and senior engineers either left or were kicked out."


What happened at RedClover sounds a lot like what happened at Accumux - Accumux's VP Engineering left shortly before the "sale," and other key engineers were kicked out. These were the people who build the company. Investors, smell the coffee.
Problem Child 12/5/2012 | 2:23:18 AM
re: Oplink Nabs Accumux I did some calling around. It seems that of the dozen-or-so full-time employees that were at Accumux a year ago, only two engineers and one co-founder were regular employees at the time of the sale.
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