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31 January 2011.
Fibre-optic connector specialist Molex has purchased the active optical cable (AOC) business developed by US start-up Luxtera, including its QSFP+ (Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable) 40Gbps Ethernet and InfiniBand products and customers.  Although the amount of the deal was undisclosed, a report from business publication Fortune put it in excess of $20 million.
 
Molex gains a high-performance addition to its range of optical interconnects, while Luxtera will now concentrate on developing its silicon photonics technology.  The deal also includes an exclusive agreement for Luxtera to develop and supply advanced chipsets based on silicon photonics for future Molex products, with 14Gbps and 25 Gbps links for next-generation Infiniband and 100 Gbps Ethernet interconnects already on the roadmap.

The deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions of optical technology by traditional connector companies.  Although the market for copper structured cabling and interconnects will remain strong for the foreseeable future, connector companies see the writing on the wall, and plan to use optical technology to reach bit rates of 100Gbps and beyond.
Luxtera hasn’t said what will happen to its commercial relationships with interconnect firms Amphenol and Siemon, with whom it had announced co-operative marketing and development agreements in 2010.
 
by Pauline Rigby