Infineon Samples 4Gig FC Optics

Bids for early status in the nascent market for 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel transceivers

September 20, 2003

2 Min Read
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Bidding for early status in the nascent market for 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel optics, Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX) announced today that it's sampling transceivers based on 850nm lasers and demonstrating a 1310nm product at ECOC (see Infineon Intros 4-Gig FC Transceiver).

The latter appears to be the first showing of a 1310nm, 4-Gbit/s product, says Rami Kanama, Infineon's manager of fiber optics marketing.

Component vendors are only beginning to roll out products specifically targeted at 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel, one example being PMC-Sierra Inc.'s (Nasdaq: PMCS) announcement early this month. Part of the hesitation comes from the heavy attention devoted to the 10-Gbit/s speed grade, where Sonet, Ethernet, and Fibre Channel were expected to harmonically converge. But in a surprise vote, the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) approved 4-Gig FC for storage area networks, potentially expanding the 4-Gbit/s market. (See FC Fires Up 4-Gig Fiesta and PMC Dips 4-Gig FC Chips.)

That might not stop the supply of 4-Gbit/s parts. Many vendors plan to extend their 3.125-Gbit/s transceivers to do 4-Gbit/s, says Skip Jones, director of planning and technology for QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC). Some examples include Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), E2O Communications Inc., Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR), and JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU).

Not all of them are shipping yet, but Jones is confident QLogic and its competition will have enough support to deliver products by mid-2004, as planned. "Our supply chain looks pretty good," he says.Rather than extend a lower-speed product, Infineon is basing its transceivers on Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs), designed to go up to 5 Gbit/s. Picolight Inc. announced a similar line of transceivers in May (see Picolight Takes eSFP to 5-Gig).

Picolight has also started offering lasers and detectors for those vendors that want to build transceivers specifically for 4-Gbit/s speeds (see PicoLight Debuts Laser Family). "We need to take the opportunity to make sure there's a viable food chain for 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel," says Warner Andrews, Picolight vice president of marketing.

Infineon expects its 850nm, 4-Gbit/s transceiver to begin volume shipments in the second quarter of 2004. Around that time, the 1310nm version should be ready to sample, Kanama says.

Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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