7 September 2010


Finisar's new WSS technology targets demand for flexible bandwidth-capable ROADMs  

Fiber-optic communications component and subsystem maker Finisar Corp of Sunnyvale, CA, USA has launched its new Flexgrid technology, which enables dynamic control of channel center frequency and channel bandwidth within a wavelength selective switch (WSS), from 50GHz to 200GHz in 12.5GHz steps, with no penalty on any aspect of WSS performance. Flexgrid draws on the inherent flexibility and performance of Finisar's Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) optical engine to address carrier demand for flexible bandwidth-capable reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers (ROADMs) in next-generation networks.

The need for increased network capacity, efficiency, and flexibility is driving the introduction of higher data rates, new transmission formats, and channel management technologies. These all require flexible bandwidth capable ROADMs. For example, the introduction of coherent techniques enables 100Gb/s transmission within a 50GHz channel. However, higher speed traffic, including future 400Gb/s and 1Tb/s signals, will not fit into such a narrow channel. To maximize network capacity and future-proof a carrier's investment in transmission hardware, the channel bandwidth in both the WSS and the add-drop components required for contentionless, directionless, colorless (CDC) architectures must therefore be dynamically variable to accommodate new transmission formats and data rates.

"Channel-width flexibility is increasingly sought by major telecom carriers as a way to maximize bandwidth-efficiency in the network," said Andrew Schmitt, senior analyst with Infonetics Research. "Flexible Grid functionality offered by leading suppliers, like Finisar, allows an optical network to accommodate advanced optical transmission techniques."

"With the introduction of Flexgrid, Finisar continues to provide the most comprehensive WSS product line on the market," says product line manager Craig Cameron. "We believe the combination of advanced optics, compact packaging, and powerful software with a versatile LCoS optical engine provides a flexible wavelength switching solution of unmatched performance and functionality to meet carrier needs, both now and in the future."

Finisar will demonstrate its Flexgrid technology at the European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communications (ECOC) in Torino, Italy (20–22 September).

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