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Cisco to acquire Lightwire

28 Feb 2012

Acquisition of innovative optical interconnect technology "will advance" Cisco's commitment to enable global service providers to build next-gen Internet.

Cisco this week announced its intent to acquire privately-held Lightwire.

Headquartered in Allentown, Penn, with offices in Santa Clara, Calif., Lightwire develops advanced optical interconnect technology for high-speed networking applications. Cisco says the acquisition will allow it to deliver cost-effective, high-speed networks with the next generation of optical connectivity, allowing service provider and data center customers to meet the growing demands of video, data, voice, mobility and cloud services.

Silicon CMOS photonics technology is expected to play a significant role in the development of high-speed networks. With expertise in CMOS photonics and packaging design, Lightwire has made innovations in optical interconnects by integrating multiple high-speed active and passive optical functions onto a small silicon chip.

By lowering power dissipation, CMOS Photonics enables optical transceiver functions to fit into smaller form-factor modules. This improves bandwidth density of network equipment. The smaller size, lower power consumption and scalability of Lightwire's CMOS-based technology enable switches, routers and optical transport systems to have higher-density optical connectivity at a lower cost, allowing carriers to further reduce their operational and capital costs and offer new revenue-generating services.

Surya Panditi, senior vice president, Cisco Service Provider Networking Group, commented, "Our acquisition of Lightwire will support Cisco’s data center and service provider customers as they manage the continuing deluge of network traffic alongside tight capital and operating budgets”

"With the combined know-how from Cisco in silicon design and Lightwire in CMOS photonics, we will transform Cisco's optical connectivity business to an integrated technology platform that supports our customers' burgeoning need for cost-effective high-speed networks."

Ned Hooper, Cisco's chief strategy officer added, "Acquiring Lightwire's advanced technology exemplifies Cisco's build, buy, and partner innovation model and supports our focus on driving market leadership in core networking, one of Cisco's five strategic priorities."

"The Lightwire acquisition builds on Cisco's existing optical networking expertise and complements Cisco's 2010 acquisition of CoreOptics, a designer of coherent digital signal-processing solutions and application-specific integrated circuits for high-speed optical networking applications."

Upon the close of the acquisition, Lightwire employees will be integrated into Cisco's Transceiver Modules Group Business Unit and Supply Chain Operations Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $271 million in cash and retention-based incentives in exchange for all shares of Lightwire. The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions and is expected to be complete in the third quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2012.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org

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