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Picolight Joins Gang of 4-Gig

Continuing the cascade of 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel announcements, Picolight Inc. yesterday afternoon announced a transceiver based on a 1310nm Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL).

Picolight already announced an 850nm transceiver in July, but the 1310nm part gives the company a chance to cash in on the 4-Gbit/s hype of the past few weeks. It's also a counter to Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX), which demonstrated a 1310nm, 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel transceiver at the recent ECOC. (See Picolight Takes eSFP to 5-Gig, PMC-Sierra Debuts 4-Gig FC Chips, Infineon Samples 4-Gig FC Optics, and Agilent Debuts 4-Gig Core.)

Just about every transceiver vendor is expected to announce some kind of 4-Gbit/s device, now that the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) has blessed a 4-Gbit/s SAN standard (see PMC Dips 4-Gig FC Chips). Most transceivers will probably use 850nm light sources, but Picolight sees some uses for the longer-reach 1310nm parts.

One example would be a dark-fiber service, where a company would lease fiber but would be responsible for setting up its own Fibre Channel connections on either end. The concept has a precedent in the old Ficon standard.

"The 2-Gbit/s Ficon standard is a 1310nm singlemode-fiber spec, and, in general, if that's run over long distances, that's usually a leased dark fiber," says Warner Anders, Picolight's vice president of marketing. "I'm not sure of any Fibre Channel services where the carrier provides a native Fibre Channel interface."

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