Swiss interconnect maker buys UK photonic startup

Swiss interconnect maker buys UK photonic startup

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

ROADMap Systems, a 2013 spinout of the University of Cambridge, is developing the next generation of highly integrated Wavelength-selective switch (WSS) photonic systems. It has developed a software-defined system using two-dimensional holograms to steer individual colours of light between optical fibres.

This reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer (ROADM) architecture will enable photonic equipment manufacturers and service providers to benefit from new optical architectures that enhance flexibility and resilience, while reducing costs through simplified network operations. Huber+Suhner, based in Pfäffikon, Switzerland, plans to use the patents and expertise of the seven person company over the next few years to expand its portfolio of optical network automation based around its Polatis all-optical switching platform.

WSS devices are used extensively in today’s optical transport networks to allow efficient and transparent routing of optical data traffic. However, the current WSS components restrict the scalability of architectures to address future network demands, hence the need for the ROADM system.

“We envision this unique and protected technology platform will enable a paradigm-shift in the cost, scalability and energy efficiency of WSS technology,” said Urs Ryffel, CEO at Huber+Suhner. “This evolution in technology will accelerate the development of flexible, future-ready optical networks in the telecom and datacom markets.”

“We are delighted to be joining the Huber+Suhner team and to bring our transformative technology to market jointly,” said Karl Heeks, CEO of ROADMap Systems. The company was founded in in 2013 by Professor Daping Chu as CTO and Dr Brian Robertson as VP Engineering. It had raised $2.3m (€1.9m) up to 2016 and raised an additional Series B round in 2018 that was not disclosed.

The technology from ROADMap will be integrated into the Polatis business unit within the Communication segment at the H+S facility in Cambridge, UK which was aquried in 2016. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction.

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