Corvis offers look at where it's going

Company will make optical switches


April 14, 1999|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Corvis Corp., a private Columbia telecommunications equipment company that has major increases in building and hiring in the works but had kept its product plans secret, finally revealed some of those plans yesterday.

Corvis has generated more curiosity than most other tech startups, since its president and chief executive officer, David Huber, was the founder of Ciena Corp., a Linthicum telecommunications equipment maker that set records for its initial public offering and first-year sales.

The company will make optical switches and other network gear. Optical technology, which carries communications on pulses of light, has been used for years in phone networks; such technology can carry calls and Internet messages faster and in greater quantity than traditional copper phone lines.

However, even optical communications are currently slowed when they are relayed by nonoptical, electronic switches.

Corvis' products would, in theory, eliminate the need for the slower electronic switches and allow optical signals to zoom along much faster than they now can.

Mat Steinberg, a technology analyst for Ryan Hankin Kent Inc. in South San Francisco, said Corvis' transport and switching equipment could double the capacity of current systems.

"They have the ability to do things in the optical domain that, thus far, people have not been able to do," Steinberg said.

Corvis spokesman Michael Newsom said the company is in discussions with prospective customers. He declined to say if Corvis has yet made any sales.

The company will introduce its products at the Supercomm telecommunications conference in Atlanta in June. Newsom said the gear will not be ready for shipment before then.

Pub Date: 4/14/99

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