New Oclaro sets course

2012-08-17 16:26:07

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ADTRAN new mini-ROADM blade adds degrees and channel capacity
Looking to extend the applications of its packet-optical transport technology into metro and middle-mile applications, ADTRAN, Inc., (NASDAQ:ADTN) has announced a new miniature reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer (ROADM) card with double the number of degrees and the number of channels of its predecessor. The ROADM blade, which fits into the company’s Total Access 5000 platform, offers four degrees of reconfigurability and 88-channel support.The ROADM line card reached general availability within the past four to six weeks, and deployments with customers are in the initial phases, according to Kurt Raaflaub, product manager, Ethernet and optical solutions, within ADTRAN’s Carrier Networks Division. It enables the Total Access 5000 to be used in all-optical multi-ring and mesh architectures. Like its predecessor in the Optical Networking Edge (ONE) portfolio, the blade integrates all the required elements for ROADM functionality – including amplification, optical monitoring, and automatic power balancing – into a single package. In this instance, the integration includes the ability to switch between 100-GHz and 50-GHz grid spacing, which enables compatibility with the first-generation blade that was designed for 100-GHz spacing and 44 channels. This feature should prove useful when interfacing metro and access ring networks.“Historically, ADTRAN has been very focused on optimizing its optical product line to support access applications at the network’s edge. That is until now,” said Ron Kline, principal analyst, network infrastructure, Ovum, via an ADTRAN press release. “The new four-degree, gridless ROADM for ADTRAN’s ONE converged packet optical product supports both 100-GHz and 50-GHz designs, extending ONE’s network role to support metro mesh-centric and middle-mile applications. The ROADM technology also gives operators a bridge between edge and core networks and provides the flexibility to evolve channel plans over time as higher-speed wavelengths are deployed in the metro: 100G and ultimately even 400G.”While ADTRAN does position the new ONE ROADM capabilities as a stepping stone from its current support of 10-Gbps data rates to 100 Gbps, the company doesn’t yet offer 100-Gbps capabilities, Raaflaub admits. He was non-committal about whether ADTRAN will take a coherent or 4x28-Gbps approach, although he did say that ADTRAN engineers likely will pursue an in-house rather than module-based design.
Averna unveils Proligent Release 6.0 test management software
Averna has taken the wraps off of a new version of its Proligent test and quality management software. Proligent Release 6.0 enhancements will enable product designers and quality managers to use manufacturing data to find ways to speed “time-to-quality,” streamline supply-chain activities, and reduce costs, according to Averna.Specifically, the news Proligent  release includes improvements designed to provide easier navigation of test and quality data, broader reporting (including new RMA and real-time yield monitoring reports), and alarm capabilities for root-cause analysis. The new version is also more scalable and offers more streamlined synchronization to address very large production volumes across multi-site deployments, simplified process-control management through easier integration with NI TestStand, and quicker installation.“Proligent gives OEMs a tool to centrally monitor and control manufacturing test operations across their supply chain while transforming their manufacturing test data into real-time actionable business intelligence,” said Pascal Pilon, president and CEO of Averna. “This release improves usability, making it even easier for electronics OEMs of all sizes to use Proligent for systematically improving their products and driving innovation, ultimately strengthening their strategic positioning.”“With Proligent Release 6.0, we have incorporated new technology to handle ‘Big Data’ coming from globally distributed supply-chain locations, and we have also introduced many additional features to our Analytics platform making it the most comprehensive in the industry," said David Jones, vice-president, product management and development, Proligent. “And our turnkey Proligent Appliances provide customers with an easy-to-deploy, on-premises solution with high efficiency right out of the box for a rapid return on investment (ROI).”
New Oclaro sets course
Alain Couder, chairman and CEO of the new incarnation of Oclaro Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR), reviewed with analysts July 31 the company’s structure and strategy following the closing of its merger with Opnext. The restructuring includes organizing the company into three groups; the strategy includes removing its few redundant product lines and accelerating its cost reduction timeline to achieve in three months what it had promised to do in 18 to 24.On the final earnings call for the old Oclaro held July 31, Couder said the combined company would continue to focus on telecom (which currently represents 85% of its business) and industrial and commercial products. To meet the demands of these two markets, the company has been reorganized into three groups that combine the assets of Opnext and the old Oclaro: The Photonic Components Business unit, managed out of Europe and Israel, includes the company’s work in photonic integrated circuits, tunable lasers, receivers, and modulators; optical and mechanical design and packaging; wavelength selective switching and MEMs; and high-power lasers and VCSELs.The Optical Network Solutions Business Unit is responsible for maintaining systems architecture expertise, custom and advanced module design, micro-optics and high-power packaging, and pluggable modules. It will be managed out of North America.The Modules and Devices Business Unit will oversee advanced transceiver design and optical packaging, advanced active device R&D, software and value engineering R&D in China, and liquid crystal work. Managed out of Asia, the group also will serve as the company’s facturing hub. Couder said that the unit’s R&D work would continue to leverage Opnext’s previous relationship with Hitachi’s R&D arm.Couder revealed a new member of the executive team originally introduced July 24 (see “Oclaro, Opnext merger completed”). Rich Zoccolillo will serve as vice president, integration. He joins Kei Oki, president of Oclaro Japan, Inc., and Tadayuki Kanno, COO of Oclaro Japan and general manager of the Modules and Devices Business Unit, as holdovers from Opnext’s management team. Couder also said that, despite having passed “the normal retirement age,” he had promised the board that he would remain in his current role for two fiscal years.As previously stated (see “Confident Oclaro, Opnext savor future”), the new Oclaro will be a powerhouse in both optical components and modules/subsystems, Couder asserted. The merger not only creates a broad product line, but insulates the company from shifts in its customers’ strategies. As an example, Couder noted that some system houses in China that had previously purchased 40-Gbps modules from Oclaro or Opnext are shifting to in-house designs. Because of its component offerings, the company has the ability to replace the lost module revenue with component sales to the same customers, he explained.The process of combining the product lines uncovered few redundancies – with two notable exceptions, coherent 100-Gbps modules and tunable XFPs. The company settled the matter by sticking with whichever effort was more advanced. In the case of 100G, that meant Opnext’s module and subsystem suite (see “SURFnet trials Opnext 100-Gbps subsystem over 3300 km”); the team responsible for Oclaro’s coherent 100G program will now shift its focus toward integrating Oclaro-derived components into the Opnext-designed system. The situation is reversed in the tunable XFP case; Opnext’s efforts in this area were far behind Oclaro’s, and therefore the old Oclaro module will remain in the new company’s product catalog.The synergy inherent in replacing components bought from other vendors with devices created in-house (primarily Oclaro components into Opnext modules and subsystems) was one factor that originally led Couder and his team to estimate that they could achieve $35 million to $45 million in annualized cost reductions within 18 to 24 months of the merger’s close. However, given an increasingly challenging market environment that Couder says will lead to flat sales at least into the upcoming quarter, the company will accelerate its drive for cost savings. The result will see the company reach the $35 million annualized savings goal as soon as December, with $9 million directly realized by then. The company reorganization (including an unspecified reduction in head count from rationalizing R&D, sales, and marketing organizations) and a nearly 20% reduction in selling, general, and administration (SG&A) expenses will be among the main contributors to this achievement, according to Couder.Longer term, Oclaro’s new manufacturing strategy also will contribute to lessening expenses and boosting gross margins. The company will retain in-house front-end production processes such as those for wafers and chips. But everything else – including the construction and stuffing of “gold boxes,” modules, and line cards – will move to contract manufacturers. This includes operations currently housed in places such as Zurich, Japan, and California.Couder stressed that, despite comparative short-term weakness, the fundamentals for sustained growth in optical communications remain in place. With the combined company now the second largest in the space behind Finisar, the new Oclaro should be well-positioned to take advantage of these factors, he believes.“In any good [business] book, a number two is expected to make money, and therefore our focus is very clear,” Couder quipped. “We will focus first on no disruption to customers as we execute the merger, and second on becoming profitable as soon as possible.”
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