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Optical/IP

OFC: Optium's WSS

11:40 AM -- SAN DIEGO -- OFC/NFOEC -- I'm a year or so late, but I've gotten my first earful about the Engana wavelength selective switch (WSS), the one acquired by Optium Corp. (Nasdaq: OPTM) just before its IPO. (See Optium to Acquire Engana.)

The key: Engana doesn't use MEMS or traditional liquid crystal. Instead, it's based its WSS on liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS). One advantage there is that you can change your channel plan after installation. Other options force the user to pick a plan -- 100 GHz spacing, say -- and stick with it.

(That capability is intrinsic to the technology; Optium is only now starting to offer it as a production feature.)

The technology was originally developed for rear-projection TVs and is similar to holography, apparently. Optium had been sourcing the LCOS chips from a company called Microdisplay Corp. but has since purchased the technology and manufacturing rights.

Interesting start to the day. I'll be sitting in on the JDSU press conference next, to hear about the WSS "Superblade" announced today. (See JDSU Intros Superblade.) I'm already walking around saying "Superblade" in a funky Super Fly kind of voice. It's not working.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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