ColorSim detects bit error rates in optical Ethernet

LuxN Inc. claims to have developed a new way of simplifying error detection and shortening the mean time to repair in optical Ethernet equipment.

The company's ColorSim is a line card for LuxN's WavSystem wave division multiplexers that collects bit error rates at the optical transport level and sends that information to a network management system. The product helps users maintain data integrity in WavSystem-based optical Ethernet products, the company says.

ColorSim measures each bit at two points in a wavelength. Incoming data symbols are converted to analog and sent to two Clock Data Recovery chips, where they are sampled and compared against a certain threshold before being converted back to a digital signal.

ColorSim only identifies what happened with the bits in real-time, according to Agnes Imregh, LuxN's vice president of marketing. It can't tell why errors happened, but rather isolates the problem and forwards the information to a network management system, she says.

While a number of efforts are being made to standardize similar technologies within the International Telecommunication Union and the Internet Engineering Task Force, ColorSim remains a proprietary method that is difficult to comprehend, says Ron Kline, senior analyst for RHK.

"I find it hard to understand how they're doing what they're doing and why they don't standardize it," he says. "They say they're not estimating bit error rates and claim that this is more accurate than other technologies, but having been in the industry, I'm a little skeptical."

Kline says he's more convinced by what he sees in the market.

"This is different and definitely unique, (but) I'm just not seeing all of the optical world jumping on the bandwagon here," he says. "I think if they really had something here, the industry would be going crazy for it. Then again, it works and the customers aren't complaining."

ColorSim is currently available for US$3,000.

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