Firm seeks optical edge

A Kanata, Ont.-based optical startup is about to emerge from stealth mode with a product said to integrate optical switching and transmission at one-fifth the cost and real estate of alternatives.

The company is Edgeflow Inc., and its product is the Edgeflow Optical Add/Drop Switch (OADX) 7200. The 7200 occupies half a rack and combines wave division multiplexing (WDM) with cross-connect functionality.

The 7200 is said to be “transparent,” in that it supports a variety of services, including SONET, Gigabit Ethernet and storage-area network protocols, on several all-optical interfaces. They include dense WDM (DWDM), coarse WDM (CWDM), and 1310 nm, 1560 nm and 850 nm.

The 7200 terminates wavelengths at each hop and switches them electronically. It “retimes, reshapes and regenerates” the optical signal, according to Edgeflow, which saves on the cost of additional regeneration equipment.

“They’ve offered a workable combination that switches wavelengths electrically, and it’s bit rate- and protocol-independent,” said Mark Storm, optical networking program leader at Frost and Sullivan in San Antonio, Tex. “Other switches don’t have the ability to manipulate wavelengths inside the box.”

The 7200 supports multiple topologies such as point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, ring and mesh. In point-to-multipoint topologies, Edgeflow says its 7200 can support “bridge and roll” maintenance in which a signal is broadcast, or bridged, across a secondary path.

If the primary path fails, the connection is “rolled” over to the secondary path, and signal transmission resumes. Path restoration can take from less than 50 milleseconds to less than two seconds, Edgeflow says.

In its initial release, the 7200 will be available in a fully redundant, 128-by-128 switching fabric. Other releases of the product will include a metropolitan edge switch supporting 16 or 32 OC-48 lambdas, and a metro access unit supporting four or eight OC-48 lambdas.