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Lasers Prep for 16-Gig FC

SAN DIEGO -- OFC/NFOEC -- With 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel just getting its feet wet, the first signs of 16 Gbit/s Fibre Channel are already popping up.

At OFC/NFOEC, the premiere optical networking conference, Avago Technologies Pte. and Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR) each showed off prototype 17 Gbit/s Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs).

The exhibits aren't meant to imply 16 Gbit/s Fibre Channel is imminent. In fact, standards work isn't even scheduled to start until April, which would mark the standard to emerge in possibly two years.

"The pressure has been mostly internal," says Dave D'Andrea, director of marketing for Avago's fiber optic products division.

But there's a practical reason for working this far ahead, D'Andrea says. Switch vendors would like to get their hands on chips and optics early, so they can start designing early. It's the usual drill: Vendors want to have their pre-standard systems already available once the standard is stabilized but not yet completed.

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