Infinera, one of the few start-ups I like has raised another $52 million, bringing its total pot to $205 million. Wow! That’s bubble era investment in the post-bubble era. The company is going to use the money to get the products to the market. It also signed up UTStarcom and CTC (Itochu Techno-Science Corporation) as strategic investors, which helps them roll out products in current hot telecom markets in Japan, China, and India. I have written in the past that Micro-opticals, aka integrated optical components have the potential to make optical and broadband equipment and services cheaper. These are integrated optical chips, which combine functions of many discrete optical devices onto a single chip. Micro-optical components manipulate light signals just the way electronic chips handles electronic signals.
The current optical networks are like mainframe computers of the 1970s, handcrafted. “The near term use of photonic ICs (or micro-opticals) is in telecom, but down the road, anywhere the world benefits from transmitting massive amounts of bandwidth with a small, low cost device, (micro-opticals) could make a difference,” says Jagdeep Singh, co-founder and chief executive of Infinera, a Sunnyvale, California company that is credited with crafting the first micro-optical chip. Back in 1950s, many could not imagine the potential of the electronics ICs, and perhaps it is difficult to understand the true implication of micro-opticals. High speed computing and quantum computing will derive, in some way, from the foundation being laid today in photonic integrated circuits, adds Singh.