On the R-OADM to the Lightwave Network


Market Studies

1394 Market and Technology Study

On the R-OADM to
The Lightwave Network

Updated: February 2008
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R-OADMs are systems that allow the very flexible, remote selection of wavelengths transiting a given intermediate node on a fiber network for dropping and/or adding. They allow access to any of the wavelengths going through a node (or, in more limited R-OADM implementations, access to a set of the transiting wavelengths) for use of the data on the chosen wavelength and the possibility of adding to, or modifying, the data on that wavelength for transmitting it on to the next node(s). They also allow the interconnection of multiple intersecting networks (multiple degree nodes) at the optical level, avoiding the expense and complexity of OEO conversions to achieve the interconnection. The device offers the promise of substantial savings in operations costs, and many operational benefits.

We have been writing about R-OADMs and their coming importance almost since the beginning of the technology. This is the fourth R-OADM report in our Lightwave series. Four years ago, we prepared our first report on R-OADMs – “R-OADMs – the Lightwave under Control.” At the time, very few authors were writing much about R-OADMs. As stated in that report it was, “… a report about a device that did not exist; whose technology was unselected; and whose market was very unclear.”

We followed our first report on this subject with a new discussion a year later with “R-OADMs – Still Here in 2004!” By then a few of the smaller DWDM system vendors had a Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (R-OADM) offering, none of the major vendors (90%, or so, of the total market) had yet announced a product. Our next update, a year later, (“R-OADMs – Key to Upgrading the Newly Merged Networks,”) of that report noted, “Every major system vendor has a R-OADM offering, and more are on the way. This is very good timing because the RBOC-IXC mergers of early 2005 will require a great deal of network consolidation, and R-OADMs will be key.”

Now in early 2008, the R-OADM has become a standard part of long-haul networks – to be included as a matter of course in any new network, and they have become a major update objective for existing networks. They have also become of important to metro networks. Now the application that is driving cost savings is the use of low cost ROADMs on the Edge of the network. (See the material on Nistica, particularly, in the Systems Vendors’ section.) In addition to the maturity of application, R-OADMs have also developed a third generation technology base – the Wavelength Selective Switch (WSS) that has quickly become the ‘gold standard.’

This is a complete update of our earlier reports with an emphasis on WSS, and how the WSS technology approach to R-OADMs will facilitate the interconnection of multiple networks. The interconnection of long haul and metro networks takes on a new importance with the SBC-ATT-BellSouth and Verizon-MCI mergers. This report contains completely new forecast scenarios, expanded technical material, many added vendors, and updates on deployment activities since the previous work. It also includes new material on Wavelength Selective Switches, and many more figures, explaining the various types of approaches available for R-OADMS. This is a completely stand-alone report, containing all of the background material from the earlier reports.

A number of technologies are involved in the R-OADM. The report presents several different architectures, with an emphasis on WSS but also including the switch version and the broadcast version. Technologies involved in each approach are described. The vendors associated with the various approaches are identified, and market forecasts are developed on a component/subsystem level as well as on a system level.

There are many applications for the R-OADM. The applications of various degree nodes (‘two degree nodes’ for example have two fiber routes, three degree have three, etc.), that are common in the network are depicted. As will be noted, some of these applications will have particular use in merging the long-haul networks of the IXCs and the metro networks of the RBOCs.

The main market driver for R-OADMs is the desire to save operating expenses by the carriers. The new video thrusts by the major combined RBOCs are a new driver to R-OADM deployment. These companies are in the process of deploying nationwide networks to deliver video on their fiber access local networks. R-OADMs are the perfect adaptation to control these video distribution services. In addition, the forecasted increase in wavelength services is going to greatly facilitate the deployment of networks based on R-OADMs.

Table of Contents






The Lightwave Network

Achieving SONET-like Control in Optical Networks

This Report


Types of R-OADMs

OXC Based Approach to R-OADMs

Colorless vs. Colored Ports
Other Names
Benefits and Problems with PLC R-OADMs
Vendors of PLC R-OADMs

Blocker Based R-OADMs

Other Names
Alternative Designs for Blockers
Problems with Blocker-Based R-OADMs
Vendors of Blocker R-OADMs

Wavelength Selective Switch (WSS) Based R-OADM

Other Names
Vendors of WSS R-OADMs
Problems and Benefits of WSS ROADMs

Summary of R-OADM Types

Summary of R-OADM Description


Typical EDFA Site Replacement – A Degree Two Node

Approaches to the New RBOC-IXC Merged Network Examples

The WSS Solution to Joining Rings


Market Drivers

Opex Savings
The RBOC-IXC Merger Driver
IPTV Networks
Vendors of the IPTV Networks


Wavelength Services

Market Forecast

Forecast Methodology

Model for Forecast

Assumptions of Model

Systems – US Forecast

US Market Forecast

Systems – World Forecast

World Market Forecast


Assumptions for Component Forecasts
Pricing for Components

Components - US Forecast

Blocker US Market Forecast
Mux/Demux US Market Forecast
Tunable Laser US Market Forecast
Tunable Filters US Market Forecast
Switch Points US Forecast
Monitor Points US Market Forecast
WSS Units US Market
Total Components US Market Forecast

Components - Global Forecast

Blockers Global Market Forecast
Mux/Demux Global Market Forecast
Tunable Laser Global Market Forecast
Tunable Filter Global Market Forecast
Switch Points Global Market Forecast
Monitor Points Global Forecast
WSS Units World Market
Components Total Global Forecast


Component/Sub-Assembly Vendors

Component/Subassembly Vendor Listing

AC Photonics, Inc.
Active Optical Networks, Inc.
Aegis Semiconductor, Inc.
Agiltron, Inc.
Alliance Fiber Optic Products
AOC Technologies
Auxora, Inc.
Avanex Corporation
Avo Photonics
Capella Photonics
CoAdna Photonics
Cube Optics AG
DiCon Fiberoptics
DuPont Photonics Technologies
Emit Technology Co. Ltd.
Engana Pty. Ltd. (Optium Corp.)
Fibernett. Co., Ltd.
Finisar Corporation
FOCI Fiber Optic Communications, Inc.
Guangzhou Yongda Optical Comm. Tech. Dev
Hitachi Chemical Co. America, Ltd.
Hitachi Cable
Hitachi Metals America, Ltd.
Infineon Technologies
Inplane Photonics, Inc.
Intel Corporation
JDS Uniphase
Kaiser Optical Systems, Inc
Kamelian (Amphotonix Ltd)
Lambda Optical Systems
LightComm Technology
LIGHTCONNECT, Inc (NeoPhotonics)
Lightwaves 2020, Inc.
Lynx Photonic Networks
Mahi Networks (Meritron)
Network Photonics (Not in Operation)
O-Net Communications Ltd
Oplink Communications, Inc.
OpTun Inc. (NEoPhotonics)
Osaki Electric Co., Ltd.
Paxera Corp.
Redfern Optical Components Pty Ltd
SDO Communications Corp.
Shenzhen Hi-Optel Technology Co. Ltd.
Sinclair Manufacturing Company
Silicon Light Machines (Cypress Semiconductor)
Stratos International, Inc.
TeraXion Inc.
TheFibers Inc.
Topfiber Technology
Valdor Fiber Optics

System Vendors

System Vendor Listing

Adva Optical Networking
Avvio Networks
Mahi Networks (formerly Photuris) - Meriton
Marconi Corporation plc (Ericsson)
Meriton Networks
Movaz Networks (ADVA)
NEC America Inc.
Tropic Networks


Switches by Any Other Name

“Switch” Types

Classes of Transparent Optical Switches

WICX (Wavelength Independent Cross-Connect)

TDM Switches
IP Switches

DACS/R-OADM Relationship

Drivers to DACS Deployment

ADMs – The Key SONET Functionality



Switches and Blocker


Approaches to MEMS

Digital Approach
Analog Approach
One Dimension MEMS

Grating Light Valve (GLV)

Liquid Crystal

LQ Uses

Fiber Bragg Grating


AWG Devices
Etched Waveguide Devices (Planar Waveguide Devices)

Tunable Lasers

Monitor Points

Technology Summary

Summary of Features by Class

Importance of Tunable Lasers

Developers and Vendors of Tunable Lasers

Tunable Lasers Vendors List

Altitun AB
Bookham (New Focus, Inc.)
JDS Uniphase
Pirella Broadband Systems



Table of Figures

Figure 1, Lightwave Network

Figure 2, R-OADM General Configuration

Figure 3, Fully Switched Approach to OADM

Figure 4, PLC Based R-OADM

Figure 5, Detailed ‘Blocker’ R-OADM Architecture

Figure 6, Alternative M-Z Diode based Broadcast R-OADM

Figure 7, WSS Structure

Figure 8, WSS Based R-OADM

Figure 9, WSS-Based Multi-Degree Node Interconnection

Figure 10, Typical Blocker R-OADM

Figure 11, WSS Added to Blocker

Figure 12, Summary Chart of R-OADMs

Figure 13, Three-Amp DWDM System

Figure 14, 3R Intermediate Access Solution

Figure 15, Use of R-OADM for Intermediate Site Access

Figure 16, Degree Three Node Example

Figure 17, Joining Two Rings

Figure 18, Using Core Routers in Degree Three Nodes

Figure 19, Using an OXC in a Degree 3 Node

Figure 20, Using an R-OADM for the Degree Three Node

Figure 21, Using R-OADMs for Joining Rings

Figure 22, WSS Approach to Interconnecting Rings

Figure 23, IPTV Video Network

Figure 24, Forecast for Wavelength Services

Figure 25, R-OADM System Unit Forecast - US

Figure 26, US Market - Change in Predominant Type of R-OADM over Time

Figure 27, Price Forecast for R-OADMs

Figure 28, R-OADMs Market Forecast – US

Figure 29, OADM vs. R-OADM Market – US

Figure 30, US R-OADM as a Percent of Global Usage

Figure 31, R-OADM Systems – Global

Figure 32, World Market - Change in Predominant Type of R-OADM Over Time

Figure 33, R-OADM Market Forecast – Global

Figure 34, US Systems by Type

Figure 35, PLC Version of the R-OADM

Figure 36, Broadcast/Blocker Version of the R-OADM

Figure 37, WSS Typical for Component Count

Figure 38, Component Count for Each Type of R-OADM

Figure 39, Component Price Table

Figure 40, Components - US Units

Figure 41, Blocker US Market Forecast

Figure 42, Mux/Demux US Market Forecast

Figure 43, Tunable Laser US Market Forecast

Figure 44, Tunable Filters US Market Forecast

Figure 45, Switch Points US Market Forecast

Figure 46, Monitor Points US Market

Figure 47, US Market - WSS Units

Figure 48, Total Components US Market Forecas

Figure 49, Components Units Global Forecast

Figure 50, Blocker Global Market Forecast

Figure 51, Mux/Demux Market Forecast

Figure 52, Tunable Laser Global Forecast

Figure 53, Tunable Filters Global Market Forecast

Figure 54, Switch Points Global Market Forecast

Figure 55, Monitor Points Global Forecast

Figure 56, World WSS Units Market

Figure 57, Components Total Global Fo recast

Figure 58, Summary Table – Sub-system Vendors

Figure 59, Summary Table – System Vendors

Figure 60, R-OADM Concept

Figure 61, Example of FXC Class Fiber-to-Fiber Application

Figure 62, Example of FXC Application at 1310 nm

Figure 63, Example of WSXC Application

Figure 64, Exampe of WICX Application

Figure 65, SONET ADM

Figure 66, OADM

Figure 67, Improved OADM

Figure 68, OADM with Limited Switching

Figure 69, Detailed PLC R-OADMs

Figure 70, Detailed Blocker R-OADM

Figure 71, MEMS Layout

Figure 72, Sketch of Two Dimensional MEMS

Figure 73, Sketch of Multi-Dimensional MEMS

Figure 74, 1D MEMS

Figure 75, Sketch of Liquid Crystal Technology

Figure 76, Planar Waveguide Demux

Figure 77, Technologies' Summary

Figure 78, Table of Switch Classes – Summary of Features

Figure 79, Example of Use of Tunable Laser in Transparent OXC