28 May 2010


Oclaro invests in ClariPhy to speed 100Gb/s coherent product development

Optical component, module and subsystem maker Oclaro Inc of San Jose, CA, USA has made a $7.5m strategic investment in ClariPhy Communications Inc of Irvine, CA, USA, a privately held fabless semiconductor company developing mixed-signal digital signal processing (MXSP) ICs for 10, 40 and 100Gb/s optical networks in enterprise backbone, enterprise data center and telecom environments.

Oclaro’s investment is part of ClariPhy’s $24m Series C funding round, which included other new strategic investors (telecom OEMs) as well as a ll existing venture investors (Norwest Venture Partners, Allegis Capital, Onset Ventures and Pacific General Ventures).

In addition, a co-marketing and development agreement plans to leverage ClariPhy’s 40nm single-chip products with Oclaro's optical technology. Oclaro says that the alliance is a key milestone in its strategy to build on its position in 40Gb/s regional & metro networks and expand into the 100Gb/s coherent long-haul and ultra-long-haul markets.

According to Oclaro, the surge in new broadband services, such as social networking, video sharing, voice over IP (VoIP) and cloud computing, is creating significant demand for increased bandwidth and improved network performance, with global IP traffic expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% between 2008 and 2013. This intensive growth is driving the rapid transition from 10Gb/s optical networks to 40Gb/s and beyond. These very high-bit-rate communications require not only advanced optical solutions but also advanced DSP and mixed-signal ICs, combined into modules for deployment by telecoms systems providers. In particular, the move to 100Gb/s requires coherent technology, which is fundamental to extending the reach of high-speed networks.

"We expect an increasing percentage of the transceiver solutions for optical networks to be comprised of DSP and mixed-signal electronics as they evolve towards 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s," says Oclaro’s president & CEO Alain Couder. “Through our investment and alliance with ClariPhy, Oclaro believes it will be able to offer its customers best-in-class electronics and optical technology as a complete solution from a single source, whether incorporated directly in our Oclaro solutions, or co-marketed as complementary products."

Oclaro claims a leading market share in 40Gb/s regional and metro networks. In the differential quadrature phase-shift keying (DQPSK) and differential phase-shift keying (DPSK) space for regional and first-generation long-haul markets respectively, Oclaro already offers lithium niobate (LiNbO3) and indium phosphide (InP) component solutions. At the sub-system level, Oclaro says that its vertical-integration model has resulted in disruptive technology, as demonstrated by its fully qualified 40Gb/s DQPSK 300-pin transponder solution for regional and metro applications. From this base, Oclaro now aims to broaden its high-bit-rate portfolio into next-generation long-haul and ultra-long-haul with coherent detection methodology. With the standardization of 100Gb/s gaining momentum, Oclaro aims to continue to deliver core optical building blocks, alongside ClariPhy's signal processing engines, as well as providing modules.

"By leveraging the significant 40nm CMOS technology innovation from ClariPhy, Oclaro will focus on optimizing our future optical products to further increase bandwidth, improve network performance, and lower the total cost of ownership for customers," adds Couder.

Oclaro and ClariPhy have a history of collaboration and offer products designed to improve the performance and bandwidth of optical networks. With low power dissipation, Oclaro's TL9000M small-form-factor 300-pin transponder for 10Gb/s networks - launched last year, and incorporating ClariPhy's maximum likelihood sequence estimation (MLSE) IC - established a new benchmark in transmission performance for dispersion-tolerant modules, it is claimed. Oclaro says that its 300-pin transponder portfolio continues to ramp and take market share in the 10Gb/s space. The firm now aims to deliver transceivers such as tunable XFP and XFP which, when combined with ClariPhy's IC, should deliver the industry’s highest-density, lowest-power MLSE-based solution, it is reckoned. Oclaro and ClariPhy believe that the ongoing combination of their optics and signal processing delivers the performance and integration demanded for such next-generation 10Gb/s modules.

“This alliance brings together industry-leading mixed-signal CMOS technology from ClariPhy with the world-class optical technology from Oclaro,” comments ClariPhy's co-founder & CEO Dr Paul Voois. “By working together to deliver innovative solutions to the market, Oclaro and ClariPhy can help customers accelerate deployment of the next generation of high-speed networks.”

See related item:

Oclaro grows margin for third consecutive quarter

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