Twenty Years of Adding Value
From the Eyes of Brian Protiva, Co-Founder and CEO of ADVA Optical Networking
Our team, our technology, is focused on one core objective - helping our customers to succeed. It's this single focus that has seen our company develop so strongly over the past 20 years. Our team has helped to shape an entire industry, helped to redefine how networks can be used as a company's competitive edge. What's more, this is just the start.
We're about to embark on some of the most exciting developments the industry has ever seen. From big data transport to mobile connectivity, we're playing an intrinsic role in the future of network technology. The advances we make here will touch almost every aspect of our modern lives. Make no mistake, this will be an exciting journey to be a part of.
This year was a busy one for us. We developed Cachejack™, which is designed to improve mobile user experience and enable location-based services (LBS) through an application-aware radio access network. It also optimizes resource utilization by uniquely transporting content directly from the backhaul network straight to the mobile subscriber.
We launched the FSP 150 with IEEE 1588v2 mini-grandmaster (miniGM) clock and boundary clock functionality, which added to our timing product portfolio.
We announced an industry-first with our Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solution that was developed in cooperation with IBM and Marist College.
Our team was awarded a prestigious Supply Chain Management Award. This is presented annually to the company with the most effective value chain in the manufacturing industry. Shortly after, we also won an acclaimed eco Internet award for our 100G Metro card.
The flexibility of our organizational structure was further enhanced when ADVA AG Optical Networking completed its conversion into an SE legal entity (Societas Europaea, a public limited-liability company under European law). We now operate under the name of ADVA Optical Networking SE. With this, we established an efficient global employee representation, reflecting the international employee base and overall orientation of the company.
We made a strategic investment in Saguna Networks and its Content Optimization Delivery Systems (CODS) technology, underlining the growing demand for content caching in mobile backhaul networks.
A new User Network Interface (UNI) was developed for our GMPLS control plane - RAYcontrol™. This new functionality enables users to seamlessly unite packet optical networks with optical transport technology and provides maximum service velocity and ease-of-use.
Our Syncjack ™ suite was designed to deliver precise timing synchronization and assurance across mobile backhaul networks.
Our FSP 150SP, a sync probe device, enables backhaul service providers to offer synchronization as a service, something that hasn’t been possible before.
We expanded our total available market to include end-to-end mobile backhauling, end-to-end business Ethernet services and the possibility to address wholesale Ethernet applications such as providing a Layer-2 service adaption layer within a wholesaler network.
We introduced our FSP 150EG-X edge gateway, which delivers cost-effective capacity, scalability and resiliency for Carrier Ethernet access and backhaul networks.
A coherent express layer was developed and added to our FSP 3000 platform. 100Gbit/s transport was also optimized for high performance agile core and metro networks.
We continued to grow as an organization - in size and in complexity. We added new executives to steer the company and lead us through the next phase of our development. We implemented global IT platforms that a company of our size requires. We grew to more than 1,200 employees on five continents.
We have come a long way. Enterprise to carrier, and now a mix of about 70% carrier and 30% enterprise business. Some of our carriers use our products for data center connectivity or global backbones for enterprises.
Today we have two common architectures (FSP 3000 and FSP 150) and we continue to be an innovation leader. We have some of the best people in industry working on innovative solutions for our customers. We remain committed to delivering Optical+Ethernet solutions for tomorrow's networks where video, storage and Ethernet access will continue to drive a massive uptake of bandwidth and next-generation technology.
We knew where the network was going and where we needed to be. We saw a few companies that were leading the pack in the Ethernet OAM, optical control plane and ROADM arenas. In this year, we finalized the acquisitions of both Covaro Networks and Movaz Networks.
Recognizing the increasing importance of Ethernet to the future network, we invested in and then later fully acquired Metro Packet Systems, Inc. (California, U.S.). We leveraged the MPS acquisition to launch the first FSP 150 Ethernet access products. This family of products has been consolidated by taking multiple products and integrating them into one common infrastructure.
All of a sudden our world froze over - we definitely didn't talk about global warming back then. To survive, we put our heads down, our shoulders to the wind and kept our vision in mind. We actually increased our market share during these hard years - we went from 0.2% to 2% of the market, just by staying flat.
To build market share in North America and Asia, we signed OEM agreements with Fujitsu Network Communications and Hitachi Ltd., respectively. And we launched the FSP 1500, our GFP next-gen SDH access solution
In 2001, we completed construction of our state-of-the-art R&D, production and administration facility in Meiningen, Germany. This year, we also expanded our WDM product line and launched the FSP 1000 and FSP 2000. We also introduced the FSP Network Manager, and the FSP Network Planner.
Like all young, aggressive engineers with money in their pockets, we decided to acquire some companies. We acquired Storage Area Networks Ltd. (Cambridge, U.K.); Cellware Breitband Technologie GmbH (Berlin, Germany); FirstFibre Ltd. (York, U.K.); and the Siemens Norway Telecom R&D Team (Oslo, Norway). Many dedicated employees from these early acquisitions are still with us today, continuing to innovate and deliver great products to market. We also launched our fourth generation of products and brought the FSP 3000 and FSP 500 to market.
Along came 1999, and with it the "Bubble." With the rest of the startups from that era, we had visions of becoming the dominant equipment provider in the telecommunications industry. We quickly realized that our small sales team was not going to be able to get global reach, so we decided to partner. In 1999, we signed an OEM partnership with Alcatel. In 2000, we closed OEM agreements with Cisco Systems and Siemens Communications.
We launched our third generation of products and brought the FSP-I and -II to market.
We also went public this year - what an amazing feeling. So many companies who launched during those years are no longer here. I am quite proud that ADVA Optical Networking is still going strong.
After about three loops and some hard falls, we climbed to the top of the roller coaster with the rest of the industry. It was the heyday of optical networking, and we were determined that our products were going to connect the world, including your refrigerator and your microwave. Our share price went up, up and away - we were valued more than Lufthansa!
This year, we were proud to launch our second product generation, the Optical Channel Multiplexer (OCM) 4, 8 and 16. It's about this time I moved to a full-time position at ADVA Optical Networking.
We were proud that our products worked well and started thinking about other markets. From our enterprise roots, we finally sold product to our first carrier customer, COLT, for whom we built inexpensive media converters.
We launched our first product. A panicked data center manager at the Westfälische Landesbank (which no longer exists in the same corporate form) needed more dark fibers but couldn't get them from the Deutsche Bundespost. They convinced us to build the first ESCON multiplexer right around the same time that IBM began developing a competing product. Look at the size of a three-channel WDM product - it was market-leading at the time.
We started out to conquer the world. This is the Robotron building in Meiningen, the former East Germany, which prior to 1989 was a major producer of hard drives and other technology solutions for the East. At the time, we could not afford to hire engineers in Munich due to cash restrictions and the inability to get subsidies. Thus we started in Meiningen with four people and a vision … to ADd VAlue ... ADVA Optical Networking was born.