Module launch brings FTTH closer

Optical module launch shows path to more flexible networks

The tunable XFP transceiver fits in the standard physical module currently used by fixed wavelength transceivers but can be adjusted to one of at least 32 different output wavelengths. According to Sinclair Vass, commercial director for JDSU EMEA, the new part saves space and also gives operators the flexibility to populate their networking equipment with transceiver capacity without having to decide on a fixed wavelength scheme upfront.

"This allows us to support next generation networks that are moving to a mesh architecture with automatic restoration," said Vass.

In the shorter term, he expects equipment suppliers to value the part for the density they will be able to achieve with it.

"Depending how densely the customers pack their optics they're more or less excited about the part." he added.

He also sees the module as helping JDSU move up the optical networking equipment value chain into producing parts such as optical linecards, into which JDSU's components are integrated today, as the equipment suppliers try to move up their value chains into network optimisation, fault finding and control.

"It's a move up the value chain for everybody," said Vass. "If we're doing all the optics we can optimise the whole system to ensure that we have the cheapest components that still meet the current spec. It will make the optical supply chain more mature and get us closer to the R&D guys."

Vass says a lot of the pressure to integrate devices and move up the value chain is coming from a combination of low-cost Chinese competitors and rising demand for bandwidth, which is doubling every six months.

"The only way you can cope with that growth is to be morel like the IC industry and be able to print optical circuits like you do ICs today."
Vass says he sees the XFP module as the first of a series of integration steps that will cut the costs of components used in large scale systems such as fibre to the home networks.

"There's a bunch of things you can do if you can write passive elements on to a waveguide and then get signals on and off it without too much loss. We can use these skills to produce devices [for use] all the way out to the edge of the network."

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