Agilent's Optical Platform Lights the Way

SAN MATEO (03/06/2000) - Agilent Technologies Inc. at the Optical Fiber Communications Conference in Baltimore this week plans to unveil a platform that allows voice, video, and data to be switched as optical signals without converting them from photons to electrons.

The technology is designed to help improve the provisioning and management of wavelengths across networks, the company said. Working in combination with other optical technologies such as DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing), the Photonic Switching Platform consists of two photonic switches that redirect light pulses without the use of mirrors. Inside the switches are a vertical and horizontal array of aligned waveguides, which direct light down a vertical path to a switched port, according to Agilent.

The platform's modular architecture helps build optical cross connects, optical add/drop multiplexers, and optical protection switching modules, which are necessary components in optical networks, Agilent said.

According to Agilent, commercial prototypes of the Photonic Switching Platform will be available by the end of the year.

Agilent Technologies Inc., in Palo Alto, Calif., is at http://www.agilent.com.

Cathleen Moore is an InfoWorld reporter.

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