The year started with Emcore Corp. (Nasdaq: EMKR) and JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) being the only two vendors offering the modules, but now, others are at least claiming to be joining in. They mostly saved their news for this week's ECOC Exhibition in Geneva.
To review: These are pluggable 10Gbit/s modules with tunable lasers. They can be used as tunable substitutes for the XFPs used in metro networks today, but more dramatically, they can eventually replace 300-pin transponders. Because the XFPs are much smaller, there are big gains to be had in port density and power savings, if the performance can match that of the 300-pin devices. (See Who Makes What: Tunable XFPs.) Here's a brief update.
"We met some very aggressive targets for our tunable XFP program, and we're ramping that product very heavily now. We've got some design wins," Rafik Ward, Finisar's vice president of marketing, tells Light Reading.
On its first-quarter earnings call Sept. 2, Finisar had announced its tunable XFPs were qualified at OEM customers. The real ramp-up is just getting started, though. As CEO Jerry Rawls told investors: "Our tunable XFP is a little slower in terms of production volumes than we expected. All of these qualifications -- it's like waiting for the baby to be born. It's taken longer than we thought." (See Finisar Reports Q1.)
One key to getting the right performance is a high extinction ratio, says Per Hansen, Oclaro's vice president of product marketing. "Extinction ratio" measures how effectively a wavelength can be shut off; because "on" and "off" are literally the difference between a 1 and a 0, it's a pretty important metric.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading