New Calix product seeks to revolutionize telecommunications

Petaluma telecommunications equipment maker Calix is anticipating new business with the world’s largest communication companies due to a new software system that can control a range of its devices.

The company last month unveiled its AXOS operating system. Last week, while releasing the company’s latest earning results, Calix President/CEO Carl Russo called the new software system “the most important launch in our company’s history.”

AXOS allows communication companies to bring the same sort of software advancements made in data centers and other tech areas to “access networks,” the copper lines, fiber optic cables and various components that link voice, video and data consumers to service providers.

Calix is the first company to offer such software for access networks, said Geoff Burke, senior director of corporate marketing. Its AXOS system will provide the company new opportunities to sell equipment to the largest network operators, known as “Tier One” companies.

“They are extremely interested in this type of technology,” Burke said.

Founded in 1999, Calix specializes in making equipment for access networks. Its customers include about 1,200 of the nation’s 1,500 service operators.

The company, which went public in 2010, employs about 750 workers, including 250 in Petaluma.

For the nine months ending Sept. 26, Calix last week reported revenues of $302.4 million and a net loss of nearly $16.8 million, or 32 cents a share. That compares with revenues of $289.6 million and a net loss of $17.8 million, or 35 cents a share, for the same period in 2014.

Advancements in software are significantly changing operations in such areas as data storage, retailing IT systems and electronic test measurement.

Sometimes referred to as software-defined networking, the innovations allow software to work independently of hardware and to handle functions previously handled by switches, routers and other devices.

For Calix, its new software’s independence from hardware means that software updates don’t cause interruptions in customer service. Alan DiCicco, the company’s director of network solutions marketing, likened it to the way a smartphone can update one app while still running another.

Also, the new software system will require less time for Calix to develop new products because AXOS will be able to operate the future devices. Previously, software needed to be written and tested for each new product.

Instead, AXOS provides a sort of library containing a large series of small software components that can be assembled in various combinations to suit each device.

The software is compatible with an array of devices and by the end of the next year will be controlling the majority of Calix products, officials said.

“That commonality is very, very valuable,” DiCicco said.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or On Twitter @rdigit

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