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Mar 15th, 2013
Finisar chairman plays down silicon photonics 'threat'
Jerry Rawls suggests that threat of the emerging technology has been exaggerated.
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Jerry Rawls, the chairman of leading optical networking component vendor Finisar, has played down the potential threat of silicon photonics, following development of the emerging technology at Cisco Systems and elsewhere.

Answering analyst questions during Finisar’s investor conference call to discuss the company’s latest quarterly results last week, Rawls stressed the firm’s technology-agnostic position overall, but added:

I think there’s been a lot of gross exaggeration about the ‘threat’ of silicon photonics.

The comments came amid concern from some quarters that Cisco, which is a key customer of Finisar, is developing silicon photonics products that are competitive with high-speed transceivers sold by Finisar that are based on the more conventional compound semiconductor format.

Highlighting the 100 Gb/s speed and low power consumption of his company’s latest products, Rawls said: “I don’t think it’s a net positive for us that a large customer would choose to go and make its own optical transceivers – that can’t be positive – but we don’t yet know what the impact of that will be.

The comments come more than a year after Cisco said it would acquire the US company Lightwire, which specializes in silicon photonics transceivers. At the time, Cisco said that Lightwire’s products would be aimed at data center and service provider customers.

Asked whether the wider development of silicon photonics technology posed a threat to Finisar’s business, or whether the company had plans to adopt it, Rawls said:

It is an interesting technology, but it is one that we haven’t used so far in our products, because [either] it wasn’t economical, or it didn’t provide competitive performance".

The question is [whether] in the future we will use silicon photonics, and the answer is ‘maybe’. We are absolutely agnostic when it comes to technology, and we will use whatever makes sense for our customers.

To read more: http://optics.org/news/4/3/15



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