Nokia snaps up optical networking vendor Elenion

Nokia sign at MWC18
Nokia is buying Elenion Technologies to boost its optical network business. (Monica Alleven/FierceWireless)

Nokia announced on Wednesday that it's buying privately held optical networking company Elenion Technologies, but didn't say how much it was paying.

Elenion designs and develops integrated system-on-chip optical engines for telecom, data center and networking applications. Nokia is buying Elenion to beef up its optical networking business and broaden its portfolio to telecom operators.

New York City-based Elenion makes integrated, low-cost silicon photonics technologies for short-reach and high-performance optical interfaces.

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“As a world-class provider of silicon photonics solutions, advanced packaging and custom design services, Elenion provides a strong strategic fit for Nokia," said Nokia's Sam Bucci, head of optical networking, in a statement. "Its solutions can be readily integrated into Nokia’s product offerings and address multiple high growth segments including 5G, cloud and data center networking. When combined with Nokia, Elenion technologies will accelerate the growth and scale of Nokia’s optical networking business, while enabling us to cost-effectively address new markets.”

Having ownership of Elenion's key assets brings time-to-market and cost advantages to Nokia’s broad portfolio of networking solutions by controling the scale and economies of silicon design and manufacturing to the optical supply chain.

Elenion builds integrated photonic engines based on its silicon photonics platform, running in a major CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) foundry. Within this platform, the company can build optical engines at both 1310 nm and 1550 nm, at speeds up to 600G on a single wavelength of light. The applications for its technology range from hyperscale computing to telecommunications.

Elenion was founded in 2014 and worked closely with Coriant prior to coming out of stealth mode in 2016. The planned deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

RELATED: Cisco's Acacia deal disrupts optical, routing markets

Last year Cisco paid $2.6 billion to buy coherent optics company Acacia Communications. Acacia had three product categories—pluggable modules, semiconductors and embedded modules—that were folded into Cisco's Optical Systems and Optics division.

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