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Redfern Broadband Networks Pty Ltd (RBN) was founded in 1999 by Ross Halgren and Richard Lauder as part of the Redfern Photonics group of companies to capitalise on the expected capacity growth in optical metro and access networks. RBN was seed funded by Redfern Photonics to develop a first prototype GigaWave Enterprise DWDM platform supporting 8 x Gigabit Ethernet services on a single fibre strand. The demonstration of this platform at OFC'2000 in Baltimore and Supercom'2000 in Atlanta USA led to RBN's first major round of funding led by Optical Capital Group and development / marketing relationships with Corvis USA.

Following the global optical market collapse in 2001, RBN responded accordingly to the changed market conditions and reduced its 7' high, 64 wavelength OEO ROADM prototype platform (GigaWave Metro) to a range of low footprint, low power, extended temperature range CWDM and TDM/MSPP optical access products. Advanced Fibre Communications (AFC) and Marconi became US and global partners/resellers respectively of these high-functionality but lower cost RBN products. In early 2004, AFC was acquired by Tellabs and in late 2004, Marconi was acquired by Ericsson. Both these acquisitions were not helpful for RBN's business going forward due to newly competing internal products. As a result, by the end of 2004, a major restructuring of RBN was implemented, including a change in management.

From 2005 to 2008, Ross Halgren (now Product Manager) and RBN's final and arguably most competent CEO, Graham Mitchell, focused on the traditional business model of using product sales revenue to fund manufacturing and ongoing R&D. R&D resources were streamlined and aligned to sales, with 50% full-time employees and 50% contractors. FPGA firmware development was outsourced to suitably experienced engineers in Sydney and Bangalore India. In early 2008, Ross managed the outsourcing of RBN's manufacturing to Dayang in Sydney. In June 2008, RBN's products, intellectual property and global sales accounts were acquired by Sorrento Networks Inc. in the USA since Sorrento Networks had a complementary DWDM platform and no competing CWDM or Mini-MSPP platform. Ross then supported RBN's product transition to Sorrento Networks through technology transfer and by writing product collatoral and application briefs for the integrated RBN-Sorrento solution-set.

RBN Product Evolution

Throughout RBN's 9 year life, it evolved from start-up phase to organic growth phase to eventual sale to Sorrento Networks Inc. During this cycle, Ross Halgren's role similarly evolved from RBN's Chief Engineer to Network Architect to RBN's Product Manager to Product & Marketing Consultant to Sorrento Networks Inc.

As part of the RBN Network Architect role, in 2003 Ross transferred to RBN's San Francisco office for 12 months to support AFC in its preparation of their TransMax1500 (GigaEdge 8200) collatoral, network application notes, integration with their FTTN DSL products, training of their staff, supporting their sales teams to promote their TransMax1500 product to potential customers and working with their customers such as Sprint (Embarq) to prepare Laboratory test specifications for the product. Sprint had standardised on the TransMax1500 for fibre backhauling their FTTN access networks comprising not just AFC DSLAMs but multiple different vendors DSL and POTS Multiplexer platforms fitted to the same or different cabinets in a FTTN backhaul CWDM ring. DSL platforms included the then-existing ATM-DSLAMs and new IP-DSLAMs with different CWDM wavelengths allocated to backaul each platform to the Central Office (CO) exchange. Due to the low first-in and incremental cost of the TransMax1500 compared to under-utilised DWDM platforms, Sprint and other Independent Operating Companies (IOCs) in the USA subsequently deployed the carrier-class TransMax1500 as an alternative or supplement to DWDM platforms for inter-office ring applications. For example, the TransMax1500 released six congested fibres carrying SONET OC48 traffic so that these fibres could then be redeployed for the new Ethernet backhaul services or for facilitating a graceful DWDM network upgrade. The GigaEdge 8200, like the previous GigaWave platforms was also designed to support Single-Fibre Working (SFW) network configurations which enabled higher-availability fibre-optic networking with full equipment protection on a 2-fibre spur to a remote Node or aggregation site.

Due to its regenerative design (like Infinera's OEO ROADMs) some carriers such as MCI correctly observed in 2003 that the TransMax1500 was the CWDM-equivalent of the newly emerging Next-Gen SONET platforms. Like Infinera's Photonics Integrated Circuits (PICs), the GigaEdge 8200 CWDM Network Interface Modules (NIMs) were designed from the ground-up by RBN using very small photonics daughterboards and custom-made miniature CWDM filter modules. The NIMs included 2.5Gbit/s cross-connect electronic switches so that any incoming wavelength could be dynamically add/dropped or drop & continued to any or multiple Tributary Interface Modules (TIMs) and/or forwarded to any outgoing NIM wavelength (wavelength conversion) under the control of a local Craft Terminal or a remote Network Management Station. A small number of TIM variants supported multiple data protocols and rates from OC1 to OC48/STM16 including Fast Ethernet, ESCON (SAN), DVB-ASI (video), 1G & 2G Fibre Channel (SAN) and Gigabit Ethernet for example.

In 2004, Ross then transferred to the UK to similarly support its new partner, Marconi. Marconi had selected the GigaEdge 8200 platform to complement their DWDM and SDH/MSPP platforms since of the 10 CWDM suppliers reviewed, they considered it the best-in-class of all CWDM platforms available globally. Additionally, Marconi were impressed with RBN's new GigaEdge 2320 4xAny Protocol Muxponder and the GigaEdge 2330 4xAny Mini-MSPP (Multi-Service Provisioning Platform) variant - which was essentially an Appware upgrade to the GigaEdge 2320 functionality. In late 2004, "Appware" was a new term introduced by RBN to refer to the programmable Xylinx FPGA-based capability of the GigaEdge 2300 platform. At that time, the GigaEdge 2300 platform preceded the Ciena 4200 flexiport cards which are believed to have employed a similar FPGA based design. RBN's GigaEdge 2300 not only implemented all the multi-rate data protocols in the FPGA, but also the SONET/SDH multiplexer functions and associated OC-n/STM-n interfaces. An GigaEdge 2300 Appware variant that was developed in 2007 to support the IPTV market - providing "drop & continue" capabilities (similar to the GigaEdge 8200) for Gigabit Ethernet channels carrying IPTV packets. It was in fact feasible to download a completely new AppWare variant that converted the platform from a SONET/SDH and GFP based muxponder / mini-MSPP to a purely Gigabit Ethernet based Virtual-Circuit multiplexer, however, this option was not implemented before RBN's product sale to Sorrento Networks.

In 2005 a range of passive, low cost, extended temperature range, SFW filter modules were customised by Finisar for RBN so that customers could add/drop bi-directional CWDM channels between GigaEdge 8200 regenerator nodes. This complementary SFW CWDM platform was sold by RBN as the GigaEdge 6100 series. The GigaEdge 6100 tributary interfaces were then terminated by the GigaEdge 2300 muxponder/Mini-MSPP platform. Seamless GigaEdge 2300 - 6100 - 8200 network solutions were thus facilitated and Embarq were one of the lead customers for this integrated GigaEdge solution-set. In 2007, using this same solution set with a simple 6100 tributary port upgrade to support low reflectance SC/APC optical connectors, RBN supplied for a Ericsson US trial in Singapore, a CWDM PON overlay network that multiplexed 2 x GbE point-to-point services (using a pair of GigaEdge 2320s) with standard GPON point-to-multipoint services and RFoG PayTV services on the same SFW passive-split (1:32) FTTP access network.

The various product brochures for RBN's GigaEdge products and application briefs for the integrated of RBN / Sorrento product solutions (post RBN sale to Sorrento Networks) are listed below with links to the original pdfs of the product brochures and application briefs.

RBN GigaEdge Product Brochures RBN-Sorrento Application Briefs
8200 CWDM ROADM GigaCraft 1200 6000 Platform Broadband Data using GigaMux and GigaEdge products
8200 CWDM NIM GigaEdge 2300 6100 SFW Filters Wireless Backhaul using GigaMux and GigaEdge products
8200 PM-TIM 2320 Muxponder 6110 CWDM OADM IPTV using GigaMux and GigaEdge products
8200 TIM 2330 Mini-MSPP 6140 CWDM Mux SAN using GigaMux and GigaEdge products

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