Intel Corporation has purchased the network tuneable laser business and technology from New Focus Inc. in a cash transaction valued at approximately $50 million.
According to a statement, the acquisition of network tuneable laser technology will enable Intel to offer small form factor, low-cost tuneable optical transceivers to accelerate the deployment of dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) equipment. DWDM is used in optical communications networks to increase the available bandwidth of the existing fibre infrastructure.
Intel is confident that this tuneable laser technology will help redefine the economics of providing optical bandwidth by enabling service providers to rapidly shift the available capacity of their optical networks to quickly add bandwidth in response to customer needs – a process dubbed ‘dynamic provisioning’ in the communications industry.
In the current market environment, network service providers are reportedly struggling to meet the growing demand for bandwidth from customers while operating within very tight capital expense budgets.
DWDM equipment reportedly provides a solution to this problem by separating light waves that travel over existing optical fibres into as many as 80 individual wavelengths. Each wavelength is said to be capable of carrying 10 Gigabits of data per second, effectively expanding the available bandwidth of the current fibre infrastructure by up to 80 times.
One of the drawbacks of DWDM solutions is that each wavelength has typically required a separate ‘fixed wavelength’ laser designed to drive a specific wavelength, or colour of light over the fibre. This means that a 40-channel DWDM solution would require equipment manufacturers to stock 40 different transceivers, each with a different laser.
Tuneable transceivers can be adjusted through software to send different wavelengths of light over a fibre. Therefore, according to Intel, original equipment manufacturers can lower their costs by only qualifying and stocking a single tuneable transceiver rather than different fixed wavelength parts.
Approximately 40 employees from New Focus have joined Intel. Intel will also license technology and supply certain products to New Focus. New Focus will use these capabilities to continue supplying products to the test and measurement market segments.