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Vendor Summary Reports examine recent quarterly results and items of interest about key vendors in the optical market. Occasionally we also write in-depth profiles of smaller companies that we think are interesting.

Company Background

Based in Tel-Aviv, PacketLight Networks originated in 1999 (under the name Tlink) in pursuit of a bold idea conceived in the heady days of the telecom bubble. As long as multiple networking protocols have existed, the elusive idea of “convergence” has been a siren song for network equipment manufacturers, and PacketLight was no different. Its first product was a Packet-over-SONET switch (hence the company name) aimed at US carriers which sought to unify the transport of multiple protocols using leading-edge packet technology (encapsulated over SONET, the dominant transport protocol of the time). Like many comparable products that came after it – and hastened by the 2000 crash – it never took off. But PacketLight reinvented itself by disaggregating the failed products’ underlying technologies into discreet products, ultimately forming the DNA of what would become one of the most unique and long-lived optical networking equipment companies in the market.

Cignal AI started tracking Compact Modular hardware in 2016 as vendors began to introduce disaggregated server-like platforms tailored to the needs of hyperscalers (see Cignal AI’s Active Insight report on Compact Modular Hardware). This product category was considered novel and innovative at the time but had been around since the early days of optical networking. Its lead practitioner was – and still is, in many ways – PacketLight Networks.

PacketLight became a member of the RAD Group in 2007 following a $10M investment. Also based in Israel, the RAD Group is a family of independent network equipment manufacturers which “operate autonomously under a common strategic umbrella” while “sharing technology, market channels and market information.”  The RAD Group investment boosted PacketLight to profitability but hasn’t been a major source of cross-selling due to the edge and access focus of its siblings. Growth has instead come organically.

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