Gurpreet Mand, director of Product Line Management for ROADMs at JDSU, sheds light on technology development, collaboration and culture at JDSU’s Ottawa site.
Q. What kind of work happens at the JDSU office in Ottawa?
A. The Ottawa site is primarily an R&D excellence center. We also have customer service, operations, and product line functions that support products being developed at the site for both the CCOP and CommTest segments.
The main R&D focus in Ottawa is on ROADMs. There are also groups that support the development of other optical products and test and measurement solutions.
Q. Has the Ottawa team always been focused on ROADMs?
A. Yes, the Ottawa team has been instrumental in developing ROADM products that have helped shape the ROADM market over the past decade. Back at the beginning of the decade, we drove a new approach for ROADMs that use wavelength switching.
Our ROADM products have evolved over time to support more flexible and dynamic optical network architectures – what we at JDSU call Self Aware Networks. Network equipment manufacturers and service providers are updating networks to support growing bandwidth demands with new types of optical products. This is needed because people are accessing more on demand applications like online video from a variety of web-enabled devices that are straining today’s current network architectures.
Q. How do Ottawa employees work together to come up with new ROADM products?
A. It is a cross functional effort and starts with listening very carefully to the customer and really understanding their requirements. Once we join the dots between customer requirements and technology capabilities, we then formulate a strategy and product plan that is validated and refined on an ongoing basis with customer.
One of the new products we are working on, called the Twin WSS, is being developed using this approach. We have listened to customer requirements and come up with a unique solution that addresses important aspects like form factor, cost, and performance.
This approach requires that members from the Sales, PLM, R&D and CTO groups work cohesively together. It’s one of the strengths of the Ottawa team. Within our groups we quite often have great debates, which is also part of the process. Once we reach agreement, we move forward in an aligned direction.
Q. The Ottawa office seems like a close knit group. How would you describe the culture?
A. You are right; it is a tight knit team. It’s a relatively small community so we meet each other in and out of the office. A large percentage of us have been with JDSU for a relatively long time and that also leads to a tight bond within the group. We respect each other because of what we have accomplished together.
We all want to keep winning as we have been doing for the past ten years with our ROADM products. The team is very focused and driven to keep innovating and providing the next great solution.
Q. What is the next big thing in ROADM technology?
A. We are in a very exciting phase and are working on solutions for higher data rates like 400G and Colorless, Directionless and Contentionless (CDC) network architectures. These solutions will help make networks faster, more dynamic and with more self-monitoring capabilities.
These next generation requirements need new building blocks that use alternate technologies. We are working on three key building blocks that will come out next year that include the Twin WSS, Flex Spectrum and the Multicast Switch. The Twin WSS in particular is driving change to a “route and select” architecture.
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