Licence agreement announced for faster communications

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 1 August 2000



(2000), "Licence agreement announced for faster communications", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 9 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Licence agreement announced for faster communications

Licence agreement announced for faster communications

As the communications market continues to expand rapidly, ERA technology has set up an agreement with SDL, Inc. to grant them an exclusive licence to manufacture and sell ERA-designed drivers for high-speed fibre optical communications systems. The agreement also provides for ERA, a technological consulting company, to develop next generation products for even faster communication, which SDL will manufacture.

The exponential growth of the Internet has led to an increased demand for a higher capacity communications network for voice, data and video transmission. More and more people have internet access at home as well as at work, and there are greater opportunities for tele-working. E-mail communication is growing at a phenomenal rate and a high proportion of messages now contain data attachments. The trend is for more dynamic multimedia content on websites that can be downloaded quickly. Optical fibre communications technology is developing in response to these market requirements for networks to be able to cope with increased traffic and the ERA drivers are used as enabling components in these long haul, high-speed optical fibre communications systems.

Under the terms of the licence, SDL will receive product designs for the ten gigabit per second driver, a technology transfer and the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the product line within the high-speed optical fibre communications market, while ERA will receive royalties. Products using ERA's driver technology will be manufactured by SDL Integrated Optics in the UK. This agreement builds on an existing sole source distribution agreement that had been in effect between SDL and ERA for these products. ERA had previously been carrying out small-scale production and this has made the transition to large-scale production at SDL easier.

ERA's range of ultra-wideband RF amplifiers has been designed specifically as drivers for optical modulators such as those made from lithium niobate. Within the fibre optic transmission system the electronic drivers encode data onto the laser beam in a fibre by switching voltages on a lithium niobate light modulator. The present driver technology allows data to be encoded at rates of up to ten gigabits per second.

ERA will continue to manufacture drivers for other applications as well as developing further advanced driver products for high-speed fibre optical communication systems. This will include units optimised for next-generation, faster 40-gigabit-per-second systems required to support the growth of the Internet and the associated demand for faster communications.

ERA Technology Ltd is an international technological design and development, solutions and consultancy company based in Leatherhead, Surrey, UK. ERA provides technological expertise that assists its customers' innovation and operating processes, improving efficiency, minimising technical risk, and reducing time to market. Typical activities include component and system design and development, complex assessment and technological consultancy. With a broad range of specialist knowledge, ERA has capability in over 100 areas spanning electrical, electronic, software and communications engineering, RF microwave and radar, complex EMC, plant integrity, microelectronics and materials technologies. Further details about ERA Technology Ltd can be found on the Internet at:

SDL's products power the transmission of data, voice and Internet information over fibre optic networks to meet the needs of telecommunications, dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM), cable television and satellite communications applications. They enable customers to meet the bandwidth needs of increasing Internet, data, video and voice traffic by expanding their fibre optic communications networks much more quickly and efficiently than would be possible using conventional electronic and optical technologies. SDL's optical products also serve a variety of non-communications applications, including materials processing and printing. Additional information about SDL, Inc. is available on the Internet at:

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