EXFO buys optical RF test technology from Absolute Analysis

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EXFO has acquired the majority of the assets of Absolute Analysis, including products, technology and expertise in the area of radio frequency (RF) testing for fibre-based radio access networks. The company says it paid about $8.25 million for the assets, including $5 million in cash with the remainder in shares.

A privately held company in Newbury Park, California, Absolute Analysis specialises in real-time optical RF over CPRI (Common Public Radio Interface) protocol analysis. CPRI is a protocol used to carry RF signals over the fibre connecting baseband units (BBUs) to remote radio heads (RRHs) in mobile fronthaul deployments (see Mobile fronthaul: a new optical opportunity).

This technology is vital to mobile network operators (MNOs) in their quest to deploy next-generation, fibre-based fronthaul networks and new centralised radio access network (C-RAN) architectures. In a market where subscriber quality of experience is a profitability game changer, MNOs have little room for error while pressure is increasing to deploy faster and minimise operating expenses, EXFO asserts.

Absolute Analysis’ products can also help operators to identify and analyse RF interference issues in fibre to the antenna (FTTA) and distributed antenna systems (DAS).

To address these challenges, EXFO is combining its optical and Ethernet test technologies with those of Absolute Analysis. In fact, EXFO has already integrated a portion of Absolute Analysis' technology into its recently launched OpticalRF application for its FTB-1 Pro test platform, a powerful, handheld instrument that allows mobile operators to locate all RF interference issues in fibre-based mobile networks.

“Mobile network operators are transforming their architectures and deploying fibre deeper into radio access networks to add new services and much-needed capacity, while preparing for 5G mobility and IoT,” said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's chairman, president and CEO. “This small, synergistic and strategic acquisition allows EXFO to strengthen its leadership position with a unique, all-in-one optical, Ethernet and RF test solution to help MNOs greatly enhance their productivity and network reliability.”

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