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Continuum Photonics unveils DirectLight IG Series of optical switches for emerging Optical Automation Systems market

February 11, 2004 Billerica, MA -- Continuum Photonics Inc., supplier of advanced photonic switch products, has announced the availability of its DirectLight IG (instrumentation grade) Series of Optical Switches. The scalable, non-blocking optical switches are transparent to protocol and line rate and are available in 16- to 64-port configurations. The IG Series products are designed to support the need for flexible physical and protocol layer testing and automation.

DirectLight IG is the first in a series of products to be released by Continuum utilizing its patented beam-steering technology. Based on platform technology originally developed for its military customers, Continuum has designed its products for demanding applications with high reliability requirements. Through standard open interface APIs, DirectLight can be used to establish and maintain optical connectivity among numerous channels with minimal physical impairments. Integration with test equipment enables highly automated test solutions by eliminating recurring set-up time and lowering overall equipment costs. DirectLight IG is ideal for applications in manufacturing production, lab environments, component and system development, network monitoring, intrusion detection and more. Continuum is now accepting orders for DirectLight, which is currently deployed at a number of customer sites.

"With DirectLight, Continuum is targeting a critical need within an emerging market we call 'OAS' -- optical automation systems," explains Dr. Aaron Bent, vice president of marketing and business development for Continuum Photonics. "We see a fundamental shift toward centralizing resources and automation of development and test processes. Customers are looking for solutions that can radically drive down cost, whether by reducing labor, eliminating equipment, or improving test throughput," he adds. "With many of our customers, we are able to prove-in a three to five times ROI in the first year."

"We are seeing indications of a significant emerging market segment in optical automation, contends Sterling Perrin, senior reseach analyst, Optical Networks, at market research firm IDC (Framingham, MA). "In telecom, for instance, component and systems vendors and carriers are under continued pressure to reduce their costs. By automating testing and monitoring processes, Continuum's DirectLight optical connectivity product enables customers to lower the costs of building products and maintaining networks."

Continuum has specifically designed its product to meet the instrumentation-level performance requirements of the OAS market. In contrast to 3D MEMS mirror technologies, DirectLight steers collimated arrays of light across free space to achieve switching.

"In the majority of OAS applications we have identified, it is not enough to establish an optical path--maintaining integrity of the physical layer signal with minimal impairments and extremely high repeatability is key," explains Bent. "Through our patented switching architecture, DirectLight actually combines three instrumentation products in one: switch, power meter, and optical attenuation on a per-port basis, features that usually cost thousands more. Customers tell us they have never seen this combination of performance and price and that DirectLight radically changes the economics of their applications."

Continuum will show the DirectLight IG in cooperation with two strategic partners at the upcoming Optical Fiber Communications 2004 conference and exhibition in Los Angeles, February 22-27. In cooperation with Agilent, Continuum is demonstrating the DirectLight IG platform in concert with a suite of Agilent telecommunications test and measurement products. The demonstration will highlight the impact of DirectLight in an OAS application. In addition, as part of an announced partnership agreement with Analog Devices, Continuum will show DirectLight in booth 3907. ADI supplies over 95% of Continuum's analog electronics.

DirectLight IG represents the first in a family of DirectLight products, based on a common technology platform and optimized for markets in instrumentation, optical transport, and fiber distribution systems for central office and access solutions. DirectLight IG is available in two platforms: DirectLight IG 3200 (32-port) and DirectLight IG 6400 (64-port) non-blocking transparent switches. Either chassis can begin with as few as 16 ports and can be upgraded in 16-port increments to its maximum size. Pricing and availability is available directly from Continuum.

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DirectLight IG is available in two platforms: DirectLight IG 3200 (32-port) and DirectLight IG 6400 (64-port) non-blocking transparent switches.

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