Last updated
Ciena Corporation
Traded as NYSE:  CIEN
S&P 400 Component
Industry Telecommunications equipment
Founded1992;27 years ago (1992)
United States
Key people
Patrick Nettles
(Executive Chairman)
Gary Smith
(President and CEO)
ProductsNetworking systems and products
Revenue$3.10 billion USD (2018)
$1.26 billion USD
Number of employees
6,013 (2018)

Ciena Corporation is a United States-based global supplier of telecommunications networking equipment, software, and services. The company was founded in 1992 [1] [2] [3] and is headquartered in Hanover, Maryland. [4]

Telecommunications network network to enable telecommunication between different terminals

A telecommunications network is a collection of terminal nodes in which links are connected so as to enable telecommunication between the terminals. The transmission links connect the nodes together. The nodes use circuit switching, message switching or packet switching to pass the signal through the correct links and nodes to reach the correct destination terminal. Each terminal in the network usually has a unique address so messages or connections can be routed to the correct recipients. The collection of addresses in the network is called the address space. Examples of telecommunications networks include:

Hanover, Maryland Unincorporated community in Maryland, United States

Hanover is an unincorporated community in the Baltimore/Annapolis area in northwestern Anne Arundel County and eastern Howard County in the U.S. state of Maryland, located south of Baltimore.



Ciena was founded in 1992 by David Huber and Kevin Kimberlin. [5] [6] In 1994, Dallas, Texas-based venture capital firm Sevin Rosen invested $3.3 million in Ciena's Series A Venture financing. [7]

Sevin Rosen Funds venture capital firm

Sevin Rosen Funds (SRF) is a venture capital firm that was established in 1980 by L. J. Sevin and Ben Rosen. SRF was involved in the financing of Citrix, Cypress Semiconductor, Electronic Arts, Lotus Development Corporation, Silicon Graphics, and Vitesse Semiconductor. SRF's first major success was its 1982 investment in Compaq which went public shortly thereafter.

In late 1994, during the transition of the first high-speed optical backbone from public sector control of the National Science Foundation to private companies, Ciena began working with Sprint – an earlier carrier of Internet traffic – to develop "high-capacity fiber optic transmission systems called dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM)". [8] The outcome of their effort was the first commercial dense wave division multiplexing system. With it, the capacity increased "Sprint's nationwide, all-digital fiber-optic network by a stunning 1,600 percent." [9] Sprint therefore became the world's largest carrier of Internet traffic. With success from Sprint and others, Ciena's "first-year sales were the highest ever recorded by a start-up." [10]

In February 1997 Ciena completed the biggest initial public offering of a startup company ever, with a first-day valuation of $3.4 billion. [7] Subsequently, Goldman Sachs, in a research note, commented on the records set by Ciena: "1) steepest revenue ramp for any company in history, 2) most profitable company ever in its first year of product shipments, and 3) largest market capitalization of any new IPO." [11] By 2001, Ciena had achieved annual revenues of $1.6 billion [12] and a market capitalization of nearly $30 billion.

Despite setbacks along the way, Ciena continued to grow over the next few years, by both introducing new products and by acquiring companies such as Lightera (optical switches) and Omnia (local access equipment).

In 2000, Ciena announced the MultiWave Metro optical transport solution[ buzzword ], which allowed metropolitan area networks to deliver particular frequencies to individual customer premises. By June 2000, Ciena's stock had soared to $120 per share, giving it a market capitalization exceeding $30 billion. Sales of the company's new line of products prompted the investor optimism, though some analysts were beginning to wonder whether the U.S. fiber optic network had been overbuilt. The customer list continued to grow as it approached 50 names. [13]

Market downturn and diversification

During 2001, the telecommunications market went through a severe downturn, and the segment that included Ciena's optical networking equipment fell by nearly 2/3 to $9.1 billion and in 2002, Ciena's revenues had declined 80% to $361 million. [14] To address the firm's challenges, Gary Smith, previously president and head of sales, was named CEO in May 2001, and Patrick Nettles, CEO since 1994, became executive chairman.

Gary Smith (Ciena CEO) Siena CEO

Gary B. Smith is a British-American executive, currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Ciena, an American telecommunications networking multinational.

Over the next few years, Ciena re-grouped by expanding its product portfolio to include a broader range of advanced networking solutions[ buzzword ], including optical switching, new generation hybrid gear and Ethernet technologies.

Ciena accomplished its diversification effort with internal development as well as a series of acquisitions and strategic partnerships. By 2004 Ciena had purchased a total of 11 firms (half prior to the downturn) with an aggregate value of over $3.3 billion. [15] With a broader range of offerings, Ciena was able both to offer its existing customers a wider range of solutions[ buzzword ] as well as compete for new customers in additional segments and regions.

On May 5, 2015, Ciena announced the acquisition of Cyan, Inc. – an American telecommunications company headquartered in Petaluma, California – in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $400 million. [16]

Ciena's acquisition history

Company acquiredClosed dateApproximate value
US$ million
DonRiver [17] Oct 1, 2018
Packet Design [18] Jul 2, 2018
TeraXionFeb 1, 201632
Cyan [19] Aug 3, 2015400
Nortel Metro Ethernet NetworksMar 19, 2010774
World Wide PacketsMar 3, 2008296
Internet PhotonicsMay 3, 2004100
Catena NetworksMay 3, 2004314
AkaraSep 3, 200346
WaveSmith NetworksJune 13, 2003178
ONI SystemsJune 21, 2002398
CyrasMar 29, 20011,100
Omnia CommunicationsJuly 1, 1999474
Lightera NetworksMar 31, 1999464
TerabitApr 22, 199812
Alta TelecomFeb 19, 199852
AstraComDec 17, 199713

Recent Events

In 2018, Ericsson, Telstra and Ciena demonstrated a record 400 gigabit/s transmission in Australia, enabling the equivalent of 1.2 million 4K ultra-high definition videos to be streamed simultaneously. [20]

In 2019, Ciena had 1500 clients worldwide, including 85% of the world’s largest telecom service providers. The firm was ranked the leading optical networking innovator and supplier and the number one vendor of optical systems in the world. [21]

See also

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In fiber-optic communication, a single-mode optical fiber (SMF) is an optical fiber designed to carry light only directly down the fiber - the transverse mode. Modes are the possible solutions of the Helmholtz equation for waves, which is obtained by combining Maxwell's equations and the boundary conditions. These modes define the way the wave travels through space, i.e. how the wave is distributed in space. Waves can have the same mode but have different frequencies. This is the case in single-mode fibers, where we can have waves with different frequencies, but of the same mode, which means that they are distributed in space in the same way, and that gives us a single ray of light. Although the ray travels parallel to the length of the fiber, it is often called transverse mode since its electromagnetic oscillations occur perpendicular (transverse) to the length of the fiber. The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Charles K. Kao for his theoretical work on the single-mode optical fiber.

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  2. Mullaney, Timothy (13 May 1997). "Ciena founder resigns to start new venture Huber quits supplier after Linthicum company shifts focus; Telecommunications". The Baltimore Sun.
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  7. 1 2 Mack, Toni (6 October 1997). "Communications: the Next Wave". Forbes.
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  14. "Annual Report". .External link in |website= (help)
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  18. "Ciena Completes Acquisition of Packet Design - Ciena" . Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  19. Hardy, Stephen (3 August 2015). "Ciena closes Cyan acquisition, begins integration". Lightwave. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  20. Saarinen, Juha (24 January 2018). "Telstra claims world's fastest transmission speeds". ITNews.
  21. Cisco IHS Markit Vendor Scorecard “Optical Network Hardware.” July 19, 2019