Finisar: Switching light for faster, more reliable internet
In 2001, while multinational companies were spending billions of dollars trying to find the next big thing in internet technology, the four founders of Sydney-based company Finisar came up with an idea that would transform telecommunications around the world.
In the intervening years, Simon Poole, Andrew Bartos, Glenn Baxter and Steven Frisken have established their company as the world's leading supplier of optical communications products that, effectively, make the modern internet work.
Today, their products handle about "half of the world's internet traffic", according to Australia's chief scientist Alan Finkel, and can handle up to one million simultaneous high-definition streaming videos.
On Wednesday 6th March the Performance Drivers Consortium held a site tour at Finisar hosted by Andrew Bartos, General Manager and Jon Bulman, Director of Manufacturing. Andrew gave us the business overview: a comprehensive explanation of the company and products. Jon went onto talk about the manufacturing process.
Internet signals travel as long distances as light. But at each end, they are electrical signals. The Finisar team has developed the Flexgrid Wavelength Selectable Switch which uses high-tech prisms to split light into more than 100 coloured beams of light and switch them from one optical fibre to another allowing the devices to handle 10 terabits per second. The switches allow optical fibres—once only used for the inflexible long-haul conduits joining cities and countries—to handle more data more nimbly, as well as making them more efficient and reliable. In recognition of their approach to innovation, Finisar was awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation in October last year.
Our attendees were very impressed by the processes and technology used at Finisar, with Gabi Neagu, Program Manager, Operational Technology Major Works TfNSW stating, “The experience was absolutely amazing, and I have enjoyed it so much.” Rob Priestly from Johnson Control said how it was a “great insight to see behind the scenes of this high-tech company”.
A very big thank you to the team at Finisar for making this a very memorable site tour
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