Release: July 18 , 2000
NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (President: Masaharu Shibata, Head Office: Nagoya, Japan) will accelerate capital investment to expand the production capacity of optical fiber arrays, which are key components in next-generation optical communications networks - WDM (wavelength division multiplexing) technology.
The volume of data transmission has been rapidly increasing together with the explosive popularization of the Internet. In North America, data traffic in 2002 is predicted to be more than 26 times the volume in 1998. In response to high- speed/large-capacity transmission demand, photonic networks (electrical-cable- free optical communications network) will become widespread. WDM technology enables users to economically and rapidly increase the transmission quantity of one optical fiber. Therefore, it is an essential technology to achieve next- generation, high-speed, large-capacity communications networks.
Optical fiber arrays are connectors for combining mono- and/or multi-channel optical fibers and devices using optical circuits. Optical fiber arrays are used for connecting AWG (arrayed waveguide grating) chips and optical fibers in AWG, which is the backbone device of WDM technology. Optical fiber arrays also will be used in OADMs (optical add-drop multiplexer), which is gaining in popularity, and OXCs (optical cross connect), both requiring high accuracy and reliability.
Among the products NGK has commercialized in response to the challenging opportunities in information technology are multilayer dielectric filters for mobile communications, optical waveguide devices for optical communications equipment, and optical parallel interconnects. NGK's accumulated technologies in ceramic materials, precision processing and precision assembly technologies are all applied to optical fiber arrays. Based on our highly precise ceramic V-groove substrate, material combinations vary according to required properties such as thermal expansion. In addition, structural design, precision processing, precision assembly and detailed measurement technologies enable NGK to achieve extraordinary accuracy and reliability. NGK provides products to accommodate up to 48 channels and is now developing an ultra-large multi-channel version (96 channels).
We have been mass-producing fiber arrays since the market's largest manufacturer of digital cross-connecting equipment decided to adopt our products. With rapidly expanding investment for IT infrastructure in North America and steep increases in global demand, we will implement a 1.5 billion yen capital investment to increase production in 2000. The market size for optical communications network equipment is rapidly expanding together with a dramatically growing need for high-speed/large volume data transmission. NGK anticipates sales volumes of 2 billion yen in 2000 and 6 billion yen in 2003.
Wavelength division multiplexing (WDM): In optical fiber communications, any technique by which two or more optical signals having different wavelengths may be simultaneously transmitted in the same direction over one fiber, and then be separated by wavelength at the distant end.
Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (OADM): Allows several channels to be optically added and/or dropped at any optical amplifier site without interruption to other channels.
Optical Cross Connect (OXC): Allows service providers to efficiently move large bundles of data throughout their network without making unnecessary and costly conversions along the way.
Arrayed Waveguide Grating (AWG): Combines and splits optical signals of different wavelenths for use in WDM systems.
Optical fiber array