Chicago -- Nistica Inc. will demonstrate a new optical subsystem at this week's Globalcomm that uses tunable filters for optical add-drop multiplexing at the edge of metro networks. Nistica's Fledge series moves a step further than recent "hybrid ROADMs" (reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers), which combined the architecture of core ROADMs with dense and coarse wave-division multiplexers, for lower-cost systems.
Nistica (Bridgewater, N.J.) was founded by former Photuris Inc. executives. Photuris was one of the pioneers in 1990s ROADM architectures, but struggled following the 2001 telecom crash. Its assets were acquired by Petaluma, Calif., photonic switch startup Mahi Networks Inc., which ended up changing its business plan to concentrate on ROADMs. Last year, Meriton Networks Inc. of Canada acquired Mahi.
Ashish Vengsarkar, chief executive of Nistica, said that the business plan for Nistica carried plenty of "lessons learned," both from Photuris, and from the subsystem companies that tried to sell DWDM and ROADM components in the late 1990s.
"When we adopted a system approach at Photuris, we essentially became a captive customer to ourselves. The model at Nistica is to sell to multiple OEMs," Vengsarkar said. "It's true that people like Network Photonics tried that before, but the model during the bubble was to keep every step in the manufacturing line in-house. We will have a pilot line for final assembly, but we will outsource as much as possible as early as possible."
Specific proprietary technologies at Nistica are being kept under wraps, though founding executives from Bell Labs, including Thomas Strasser and Jefferson Wagener, are experts in the design of passive gratings and hitless tunable filters. Three prototypes of Fledge subsystems will be shown at Globalcomm.
Fledge Three is a tunable replacement for a fixed OADM. Fledge Ten is a C-band module that can add or drop as many as eight wavelengths in low-capacity applications where remote activation of services is critical.
Full Fledge is a C-band edge module capable of adding or dropping up to 16 wavelengths for higher-bandwidth services, such as Internet Protocol TV, that require cost-effective activation.
The systems can be integrated, internally or as "pizza-box" adjuncts, to systems ranging from DWDM to multiservice provisioning platforms. If larger core systems such as optical cross-connect switches are revitalized in the future, the Nistica technology can be scaled beyond 16 wavelengths, but Vengsarkar said that would probably come in a family different from the new Fledge series.