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100G and Beyond Begins With Cisco Coherent Optical Technology

The Visual Networking Index predicts we’re going to hit nearly a zettabyte of traffic by 2015. Applications such as video and cloud services are consuming bandwidth on the network to the point that 10 Gbps infrastructure is insufficient. Without question, 100 Gbps technology in the data center, network core and edge, and transport is a key enabler to remove bandwidth constraints. Cisco is leading the industry in 100Gbps technology across network architecture, and two major acquisitions recently in the 100 Gbps optical component space drive innovation, reduce costs, and improve performance for our customers.

The first acquisition was CoreOptics, a Digital Signal Processing solution designer which was completed in 2010. CoreOptics provides silicon technology to deliver 100 Gbps coherent optical signals on existing (10 Gbps) fiber infrastructure. This means customers can upgrade to 100 Gbps and beyond without incurring tremendous costs. They can do this regardless if their existing fiber network is Cisco, Alcatel, or Nortel/Ciena. It’s the best 100Gbps DWDM solution in the industry with ultra long haul distances (up to 3000 km, as validated by EANTC) and highest density (3x the competition). Even better, we’ve already shown that it’s capable of taking transmission to 400 Gbps and 1 Tbps super-channels in the future.

The second acquisition, Lightwire, is a silicon photonics company with technology to enable cost-effective, very high-speed optical interconnects using CMOS-based silicon photonic optical transceivers. In non-technical terms, “CMOS” (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) is the industry standard for manufacturing chips without need for exotic materials or processes. This means lower power consumption, higher densities, and lower costs, all of which are critical to reducing the operational cost and carbon footprint of data centers as they scale to 100 Gbps and beyond. With this technology in-house, the advanced silicon optical technology can be utilized across our entire product portfolio.

Our customers are very positive. We’ve announced a number of successful trials in our long-haul DWDM solution, including US Signal, Lumos, and SURFnet. Look for more to be coming soon!

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Lightwire

Today, Cisco announced its intent to acquire Lightwire, which develops optical interconnects for high-speed networking applications. This acquisition provides Cisco with complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) photonics technology, which will enable service providers and data centers to meet the growing demands of video, data, voice, mobility, and cloud services. This is an exciting milestone in our goal of delivering cost-effective, high-speed networks with the next generation of optical connectivity.

By acquiring Lightwire, we continue our long-standing tradition of bringing world-class talent into the Cisco family. Lightwire brings a strong team with cutting-edge expertise and thought leadership in silicon engineering, including a Kal Shastri, Lightwire Founder and CTO, who will be joining Cisco as a Distinguished Engineer.

The Lightwire acquisition is a great example of Cisco’s commitment to build, buy, and partner to drive innovation; it also supports our strategy to drive market leadership in the core, one of Cisco’s five foundational priorities, and is a strong follow-on to the acquisition of CoreOptics, another key acquisition in the advanced silicon arena. Together, they will enable cost-effective, scalable, converged packet-optical networks to address the needs of our customers and continue Cisco’s long track record of technology innovation and leadership.

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