Microsoft has announced the acquisition of U.K based startup Lumenisity, a company which designs hollow core fiber HCF technologies especially for data centers and ISPs. According to Microsoft this latest acquisition will drive expansion and further accelerate the optimization of its global cloud infrastructure while serving its cloud platform. Additionally, it will also service Microsoft customers with “strict latency and security requirements.
Hollow Core Fiber cables is basically a combination of optical fiber and coaxial cable which has been in use as far back as the 90s. Lumenisity however introduces a proprietary design which carries an air-filled center channel circumnavigated by a ring of glass tubes. The operating mechanism behind the design leverage on the fact that light moves faster via air than glass and this has been demonstrated. A Comcast trial conducted in April demonstrated that the traffic rate of a strand of Lumenisity HCF was within the 10 Gbps to 400 Gbps range.
The CVP of Microsoft’s Azure Core Girish Bablani underscored the industry utility and value of HCF for a range of businesses falling under categories including manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, retail, and government among others. In Bablani’s analysis:
“For the public sector, HCF could provide enhanced security and intrusion detection for federal and local governments across the globe. In healthcare, because HCF can accommodate the size and volume of large data sets, it could help accelerate medical image retrieval, facilitating providers’ ability to ingest, persist and share medical imaging data in the cloud. And with the rise of the digital economy, HCF could help international financial institutions seeking fast, secure transactions across a broad geographic region.”
This goes to show the various areas in which this technology can be applied.
The Optoelectronics Research Center of the University of Southampton birthed Lumenisity in 2017 as a unit for the commercialization of HCF research. Before the Microsoft deal, Lumenisity conducted several funding rounds securing $15.35 million (£12.5 million) from investors such as Parkwalk Advisors and Business Growth Fund.
Lumenisity was founded in 2017 as a spinoff from the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton to commercialize research in HCF. Prior to the acquisition, the startup raised £12.5 million (~$15.35 million) in funding across several funding rounds from investors, including the Business Growth Fund and Parkwalk Advisors.
According to Lumenisity, it has deployed its fibers in customer networks which is “the longest spans ever reported utilizing HCF technology.” U.K company BT’s piloting of Lumenisity’s tech presented another twist which according the U.K operator could potentially cut down latency by almost 50% unlike the regular fiber. In addition to BT, euNetworks Fiber UK Limited, an infrastructure company is experimenting Lumenisity cable to be used for the London Stock Exchange.
Lumenisity completed its 40,000 square foot HCF manufacturing hub in Romsey, U.K in November 2022. The company is hoping this milestone will boost the production of its HCF technology subsequently.
A statement released by Lumenisity shared the sentimental aspirations of the company: “we are excited to start our new chapter as part of Microsoft to fulfil this technology’s full potential and continue our pursuit of unlocking new capabilities in communication networks.” The HCF manufacturer also revealed its excitement about finding a collaborator in the hollow core space as Microsoft unarguably remains a major player in the ecosystem.
As originally reported in (https://techcrunch.com/2022/12/09/microsoft-acquires-startup-developing-high-speed-cables-for-transmitting-data/)