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Optical components

JDSU Gets Tunable & Pluggable

This week's announcement of a tunable transmitter optical assembly (TOSA) from JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) not only shows the optical giant is still hot on integrated photonics, but also could open a new market in optical transceivers.

The key is that JDSU's TOSA can pack into an XFP transceiver. (See JDSU Shrinks TOSA.) And a fully tunable and pluggable XFP module is the market's "holy grail" right now, says Ovum RHK Inc. analyst Daryl Inniss.

That's because adding tunability to XFP transceivers "increases the potential density for line cards that can be used in metro, metro edge, or access networks," he says. "It opens up whole new market segment."

JDSU says it will offer the actual transceivers based on the TOSA later this year.

JDSU's competiton includes Bookham Inc. (Nasdaq: BKHM; London: BHM) and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. (Tokyo: 6503), but neither has come up with a solution that moves tunable lasers onto an XFP transceiver, Inniss says.

Still, the most interesting aspect of the announcement is JDSU's move towards integrated photonics, says Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin.

Perrin says the announcement shows "JDSU is starting to get more aggressive about doing photonic integration," which he believes is good for the company. "A few years back, they had not been aggressive at all, so it's good that they're investing in integrated photonics," he says.

The new TOSA follows JDSU's September announcement of a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) combining a tunable laser and optical modulator onto a single chip. (See JDSU Advances PICs.)

Much of the world knows about PICs only because of Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), which used the concept in designing its optical platform. The idea is hardly new -- Greg Fish, R&D manager for Integrated Photonics at JDSU, dates the technology back to the 1970s -- but it's catching on lately as a way to reduce power consumption and increase the potential density of optical products.

"As time goes on, [PIC] technology can address more and more with less," Fish says.

In addition to being pluggable and tunable, the TOSA also supports 50-Ghz channel spacing, as opposed to 100Ghz channel spacing supported by other TOSAs. That offers double capacity to OEMs, a key factor as data rates increase in the core, Fish says.

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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