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Polatis WSS features ultralow 3-dB loss

JUNE 19, 2008 -- Polatis (search for Polatis), a manufacturer of high-performance, low-loss optical switches, has introduced its ExpressLight wavelength-selective switch (WSS; search for wavelength-selective switch) family of products, which the company is billing as the industry's lowest-loss WSS system. The WSS is integrated with optical channel monitoring and channel equalization functions in a small-form-factor 1RU shelf, and enables rapid time-to-deployment for operators and network equipment manufacturers in core and metro DWDM networks, says Polatis.

Polatis has worked closely with carriers in developing the ExpressLight WSS product, including undertaking a London Regional Network Study to quantify the impact of lower WSS loss.

"We have conducted studies for our operational networks that clearly demonstrate the advantages of low-loss optical switching components," explains Andrew Lord, who leads BT's optical core R&D. "Ultimately, what is preventing us from rolling out many more WSSs is the entire network cost. A WSS with half the loss of traditional technologies can save thousands of decibels in optical amplification, avoiding unnecessary regenerations throughout our network, and hence reducing significantly those costs."

The ExpressLight WSS product has been developed as a core component of a carrier ROADM strategy, providing the ability to remotely reconfigure any or all wavelengths and enable a cost-effective means of remote optical network management. The entire family of products offers up to 50% the loss of competing technologies, according to Polatis, at less than 3 dB of express or drop loss. Operators can manage up to 42 wavelengths at 100-GHz channel spacing, provide colorless and hitless add/drops, and manage the network through the integrated channel monitoring and equalization capabilities of the shelf. The combined ultralow loss, wide passband, and high OSNR ensure maximum ability to cascade network nodes.

"The Polatis WSS serves an unmet market need in the DWDM ROADM network today," claims David Lewis, Polatis CEO. "The dramatically lower loss solves the 'pinch points' in the network where low loss is critical, and enables new architectures for active add/drop, ring-to-ring, and multidegree transparency in the network."

The WSS, which leverages Polatis's proprietary piezoelectric beam-steering engine, is designed to allow easy integration into existing DWDM transport systems or as a managed element in an operator network. The WSS is suitable for dynamic wavelength switching and service provisioning; ring-to-ring and multidegree network connectivity; scalable wavelength crossconnects; network restoration; and adding remote reconfiguration to existing point-to-point fixed DWDM networks.

The first ExpressLight WSS product is available in a passively cooled shelf, offered as a 1x9 configuration (one common line, nine add or nine drop paths). The core technology is scalable and will allow for 1x5 through 1x20 configurations. Real-time optical channel monitoring and power equalization of the downstream wavelengths is integrated. Interfaces include SNMP, Telnet, and a Graphical Element Management Interface. All products will provide less than 3-dB express or add/drop loss, and are protocol- and bit-rate-independent up to 40 Gbits/sec and beyond.

A live demonstration of the ExpressLight 1x9 WSS product will take place on the Polatis booth (#SL1306) at NXTcomm08 in Las Vegas this week.

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