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Thursday, 22 July 2010 18:07

Finisar Australia leads global ROADM market


Reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexors (ROADMs) are a key component of the world's optical fibre networks. Sydney based Finisar Australia is a world leader in this rapidly growing market, and it is looking for people.

Finisar Australia is now a subsidiary of California based Finisar, which claims to be the world's largest supplier of optical communications equipment - optical transceivers and ROADMs.

Finisar Australia was founded in 2001 by Dr Simone Poole and Steve Frisken as Engana Pty Ltd. Engana was acquired by Optium in 2006, which was in turn acquired by Finisar in 2008. Poole and Frisken however still play key roles in Finisar Australia and the company today is solely focussed on products that evolved from Engana's technology

Finisar Australia produces wavelength selective switches (WSS), devices that are able to switch wavelengths from one fibre to another, in any combination, across a confluence of up to ten separate fibres. This facility is important for network operators as they need to be able to reconfigure their networks to meet changing demand patterns.

However a key differentiator of the WSS technology developed by Finisar is its flexibility. Most optical systems today use 10Gbps per wavelength channels, but wider channels carrying 40Gbps are well established and 100Gbps and even 400Gbps channels are on the way. The Finisar technology is unique in that it is able to switch these wider, higher bandwidth channels simply by upgrading the software.

According to Finisar CEO, Eitan Gertel, the ROADM market is growing at an unprecedented rate. "People did not prophecy the ROADM market to be as big as it is'¦It is growing at about 30 or 40 percent per year. Every system deployed today has a lot of ROADMs in it because operators want to have a lot of flexibility."


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He added that the 2010 market for ROADMs had been put at $US154m, but this estimate was far too low. "We sold $27m in ROADMs last quarter so our run rate is over $US100m per year, but we believe we have less than 50 percent of the market."

Finisar announced revenues for Fiscal year 2010 of $US629.9m of which ROADM products developed and commercialised in Australia accounted for $US72.4m, an increase of 226 percent on FY2009.

Huawei recently announced https://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/deals/40335-huaweis-order-for-aussie-optical-technology-brings-20-jobs-to-nsw that it had placed an order with Finisar that had resulted in Finisar Australia hiring an additional 20 people taking its total to 205, and Finisar Australia general manager, Allen Conduit, said the company would have 300 by the end of 2010.

To support the increase in customer demand, Finisar Australia has expanded its facility in Sydney, its technical team and its research and development efforts. Gertel told ExchangeDaily "We are adding people, we are adding real estate we are adding capacity [in Australia]. This is only the first generation of our production. There are three products in the pipeline that are yet to be released."

Poole said the company presently employed 90 engineers, 25 of them with PhDs. Gertel said the company was looking for "20 to 40 people right now, about half of them engineers," and that recruitment was a major challenge for the company.

"We have to look very hard, partly because there is not enough awareness of what we do. We are not in the consumer market, so our challenge is to let people know that there is super high tech company in Sydney that is the leading company in the world at what it does and it provides a great career opportunity."

Poole added that the company had chosen an inner city location, Waterloo, in part to be more attractive to employees and prospective employees than the established industrial estates in suburbs such as North Ryde.

For anyone interested in employment with Finisar, its phone number is 02 9581 1600.


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