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Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
2/20/2002

At a time when equipment startups are struggling to get by, out struts Photonami Inc., a Canadian optical equipment vendor that says it's building three new pieces of gear for metropolitan area networks (see Photonami Intros 'IDWDM').

Photonami's got three products planned, all under the umbrella name of "Intelligent DWDM" (IDWDM): an add/drop mux, called the Optical Burst Director; an all-optical hub, called the Optical Burst Node; and an all-optical crossconnect, called the Optical Burst Switch. Inside the upcoming boxes are several components designed by Photonami, including a surface-emitting distributed feedback (DFB) laser.

In fact, the sheer number of self-made components in Photonami's systems causes some to wonder if their focus is split between building systems and building parts. "I'm concerned that they've put a lot of energy into developing so many of their own components," says Maria Zeppetella, VP of network infrastructure at Probe Research Inc. "That sometimes doesn't work out for startups."

The company has said little regarding the specifics of each device. Mostly, it's pitching its Optical Burst Director as a way to efficiently transport packet-based traffic.

Richard Pearce, Photonami's VP of business development, says the technology behind Optical Burst Switching makes more efficient use of a network by allowing wavelengths to be reused as needed to support traffic patterns.

Here's what happens: Photonami gear accumulates traffic bound for a specific destination up to a preset volume or for a present hold time. When the time is right, the Photonami box creates a lambda path and sends the data. The box then tears the lambda path down and makes it available for reuse.

Optical Burst Switching can be offered in a ring topology using Photonami's add/drop mux, or in a star or mesh network using all three pieces of gear.

Pearce says the add/drop mux can be added to an existing network where needed, without disturbing the flow of traffic. "It can offload lambda services, high bandwidth circuits, and also packet traffic – anything that's clogging the current metro network," he says.

For now, though, there are only promises. Photonami won't have a product ready for carrier trials until sometime in the second half of this year, according to Pearce.

The company, founded in May 2000, employs more than 60 people. Whitecap Venture Partners and Centara Corp. are its only backers. Pearce says the company "isn't comfortable" disclosing how much venture capital it has raised to date.

Photonami is led by Blaine Hobson, who was most recently an entrepreneur-in-residence with Whitecap.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com

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The_Holy_Grail
The_Holy_Grail
12/4/2012 | 10:54:55 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
Other than possibly supplying themselves components, this sounds like Iris Labs all over again. How does this differ?

As for develping your own components, why? Most will or have turned into commodity items. Getting into the component business is capital intensive and may yiled only marginal returns.

I would think rather than spreading yourself thin over three spaces, it might be wiser to select a vertical market and do it damn well. Most startups don't have the capital to chase multiple spaces simultaneously.
rickaty
rickaty
12/4/2012 | 10:54:55 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
Are they going to build their components in Vietnami ?
skeptic
skeptic
12/4/2012 | 10:54:55 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
Richard Pearce, Photonami's VP of business development, says the technology behind Optical Burst Switching makes more efficient use of a network by allowing wavelengths to be reused as needed to support traffic patterns.

Here's what happens: Photonami gear accumulates traffic bound for a specific destination up to a preset volume or for a present hold time. When the time is right, the Photonami box creates a lambda path and sends the data. The box then tears the lambda path down and makes it available for reuse.
---------------------

Here's what happens: People keep pushing optical
burst switching without understanding what it
really means to buffer traffic for the length of
time it takes to set up a lambda path. It always
seems like a great idea right up to the time the
product is finished and the startup discovers
that nobody wants what they have built.

And they only have sixty people? They don't have
the people (yet) to do all these different
things. This sounds like a bunch of component
engineers with marketing people hanging around
thinking about what products they could make.


alloeo
alloeo
12/4/2012 | 10:54:47 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
>This sounds like a bunch of component
engineers with marketing people hanging around
thinking about what products they could make.


Hear, hear! Looks like they never bother to do some basic TCP simulations with OBS and to see what happens when they hold up the traffic at the edge :^) Moreover, I don't see any links between their patents and OBS.



gea
gea
12/4/2012 | 10:54:46 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
Now waitaminute folks...

You're all sounding like Harvey Mudd here! Doesn't this company deserve the benefit of the doubt?

Remember, the detailed description of what they're doing came from Lightreading...they are not always unfallable on the technical side...perhaps they looked up "burst mode" and just added that here.

In any event, Photnonami is not necessarily doing anything radical or impossible, but simply allowing trafic patterns to automatically set up and tear down lambdas (even in burst mode this could merely be a bunch of OC-12c MPLS pipes)...this is one of the main goals of ASON efforts. The hard part is not losing traffic during a lambda switch, so maybe that's what those fancy components are for.

As for the systems/components debate, these guys probably charged ahead and then found that there wouldn't be any demand for these components for a long time, so they were forced to build some systems themselves.

I wish them well...sounds cool even though it's a long shot.
Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson
12/4/2012 | 10:54:46 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
Holy Grail,

You must mean the Iris Group. Iris Labs was a seperate entity focusing on NMS. The core group from Iris is starting anew in Telecom Corridor, not Canada and will be developing something completely different (without Michael Zadikian).
The_Holy_Grail
The_Holy_Grail
12/4/2012 | 10:54:41 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
You are correct. The LR articles of the past had me a little confused.

Good luck!
Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson
12/4/2012 | 10:54:40 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
No problem and thanks. Who are you currently with? Content or interested in looking at something else?
alloeo
alloeo
12/4/2012 | 10:54:37 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
>perhaps they looked up "burst mode" and just added that here.

gea, 'burst mode' is way different from 'burst switching', I don't think the LR people would confuse these two. Besides, 'Optical Burst Switching' was clearly stated in their view graph, from their website.

>In any event, Photnonami is not necessarily doing anything radical or impossible, but simply allowing trafic patterns to automatically set up and tear down lambdas (even in burst mode this could merely be a bunch of OC-12c MPLS pipes)...this is one of the main goals of ASON efforts. The hard part is not losing traffic during a lambda switch, so maybe that's what those fancy components are for.

What your described was traffic-oriented lightpath setup in GMPLS/ASON. First of all, nobody is doing traffic-initiated lightpath setup, because it has not been proven working; everone is doing control-initiated lightpath setup. Second, there is a clear difference between lightpath setup and burst switching. In the lightpath setup, there is a request-reservation-acknowledge phase, which takes quite a bit of time. I don't think one can hold up real-time packet traffic for this long. If you are only referring to circuit traffic, then essentially this is another GMPLS/ASON box, then it falls into the 'metoo' category and has to face the big players.

If they are really doing OBS, as they claimed on their viewgraphs, which includes traffic accumulation, bandwidth reservation, payload transmission, and teardown. Well, god bless them.


>As for the systems/components debate, these guys probably charged ahead and then found that there wouldn't be any demand for these components for a long time, so they were forced to build some systems themselves.

Well, this trick might work three years ago, but in this economy? What are the VCs thinking? Component people trying to build a system... well, good luck is all I can say.

The best case for them, IMO, is that all this fuss was created by a bunch of clueless marketing people, who think throwing some sexy words like OBS could bring them more attention. Hopefully they have decent device engieers so at least they can pull-off as a sub-system company.



lobster
lobster
12/4/2012 | 10:54:20 PM
re: Photonami 'Bursts' Onto Scene
Dear skeptic,

what is your understanding of what happens to the
buffered traffic in OBS (and how long it would take to set up a lambda path and ho wlong the data has to be buffered?). Could you also explain what you
think the problem of OBS is, and why nobody wants OBS products?


skeptic said:
---------------------

Here's what happens: People keep pushing optical
burst switching without understanding what it
really means to buffer traffic for the length of
time it takes to set up a lambda path. It always
seems like a great idea right up to the time the
product is finished and the startup discovers
that nobody wants what they have built.
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