U.S. Patent No. 8,200,056, issued on June 12, 2012 to Lightwire LLC of San Jose, CA, discloses a multi-fiber connector for photonic subassemblies.
According to the ’056 patent, optical fiber network interfaces can be expensive to manufacture, largely due to the difficulty in mounting and aligning the optical fibers with the corresponding devices, and the manufacturing costs have been a factor in slowing the penetration of fiber optic technology into local area networks. The connector disclosed in the ’056 patent is designed to interconnect a fiber array with a planar photonic subassembly using “low-cost alignment techniques, while relaxing manufacturing tolerances … and permitting the use of inexpensive materials.”
Lightwave, headquartered in Allentown, PA, was recently acquired by Cisco Systems in March 2012 for $271 million in cash and retention-based incentives. According to the Cisco press release, Lightwire’s advanced optical interconnect technology for high-speed networking ”will allow Cisco to deliver cost-effective, high-speed networks with the next generation of optical connectivity.” In Cisco’s blog, the company explains that Lightwire’s CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) technology results in “lower power consumption, higher densities, and lower costs,” and the acquisition will allow Cisco to use the advanced silicon optical technology across its entire product portfolio.
According to the USPTO database, Lightwave received two U.S. patents in 2012, including the ’056 patent, and had 75 U.S. patents overall.