Monday, September 10, 2007

Matisse Networks announces $45 million Series C VC funding

Matisse Networks which is building Ethernet over Optical Burst Switch technology today announced that it had closed $45 million Series C funding from Merrill Lynch PCG and other VCs. Matisse's EtherBurst switch is one of the few companies in the Optical Burst Switching (OBS) Domain.

OBS attempts to bridge the gap between optical circuit switching technology (which is widely deployed now) and packet switching which is non-existent in the optical domain because optical components cannot match electronic speeds. OBS establishes dedicated circuits for short durations of time by sending a signal in advance in the control domain which reconfigures the network to form the circuit. Data (which is called an optical burst) is then transmitted over this circuit. The network can be then reconfigured to form a different circuit along which a different optical burst may be sent. While OBS is a neat concept and has existed in academic research since the late nineties, it has not been commercially exploited other than some prototype demonstrations.

I am curious as to how the EtherBurst switches Ethernet 1500 MTU size packets over an OBS network since the granularity of a burst will be much much (1000x) larger than an Ethernet packet. May be they aggregate packets to a destination together and then transfer them. But then latency suffers. It would be great if Matisse came up with some performance characteristics such as throughput delivered, latency, etc.

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