Active optical cables -- which convert electronic inputs into optical form for transport -- are used mostly for Infiniband connections in data centers and high-speed computing. Luxtera has been working to apply the concept to 40Gbit/s Ethernet switches as well.
Why this matters
Silicon photonics have a lot of potential in telecom optics, but it's still uncertain how viable the startups in that area will be. This deal seems to indicate that Luxtera found a good niche -- just one where the end product is better served by a bigger company.
"I have the impression cables are a hard business to break into from a distribution standpoint," because it's an industry where big companies dominate, Ovum Ltd. analyst Karen Liu writes in an e-mail to Light Reading. "If Luxtera keeps making the insides and Molex is the channel to market, that may make more sense than a standalone business."
Luxtera officials say their silicon photonics work is still chugging along, but it's mostly done under nondisclosure agreements, so they're not saying much else.
Here's a bit about what's been happening with Luxtera and with active optical cables.
- Finisar to Demonstrate Industry's First InfiniBand FDR Active Optical Cable (Finisar's website)
- Luxtera Enables 100Gbps Data Center Interconnects (Luxtera's website)
- Luxtera Puts 30G in CMOS
- Luxtera Supports 40GigE
- Luxtera Extends Blazar
- Luxtera Introduces Industry's Lowest Power 40G AOC (Luxtera's website)
And, from 2008, here's our report on silicon photonics in general.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading