Light Reading
Forget Pi Day. Let's talk about optical milestones and the legacy of Nortel

Coherent Turns 5

Craig Matsumoto
Valley Wonk
Craig Matsumoto
3/14/2013
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This week marked the fifth anniversary of Nortel Networks announcing its coherent technology. Mike Adams (who's now a vice president at Ciena Corp.) clued me in on it Thursday. Sure enough, it was mid-March 2008 when Ryan Lawler (who's now doing things like interviewing Will Arnett) wrote: Nortel Trots Out 40Gig. We didn't call it "coherent" then. Nortel was emphasizing the name of the modulation scheme, the oh-so-catchy dual-polarization quadrature phase-shift keying (DP-QPSK). Not everyone believed in coherent from the get-go, Adams remembers -- and why not? Nortel's would be one of many different, incompatible 40Gbit/s schemes to emerge for optical line-side transmission. But Nortel got some carriers on board quickly. And months later, coherent detection became the de facto 100Gbit/s standard when the OIF set its 100Gbit/s framework, including the choice of DP-QPSK as the sole modulation format. (See Nortel Rolls On With 40-Gig and OIF Steps In to Fill the 100G Void.) Now at the 2013 OFC/NFOEC, coherent is all we'll talk about, although there'll be some quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) to go along with the DP-QPSK. We did give Nortel a lot of credit for trailblazing 100Gbit/s coherent (at least, that's how I remember it), but the five-year mark still provided a nice excuse to pause and reflect for a minute. Now back to OFC/NFOEC planning. — Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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Bo Gowan
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Bo Gowan,
User Rank: Lightning
3/15/2013 | 7:46:17 PM
re: Coherent Turns 5
Yep, and you would have thought for this story I'd have been able to find more pictures, news coverage, etc from 2008.-á Even digital stuff seems to fade away.-á I'm sure the BK process didn't help that at all.
Craig Matsumoto
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Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/15/2013 | 4:46:24 PM
re: Coherent Turns 5
-áThanks, Bo. Haven't read the whole thing (it's seriously in-depth). It's interesting to see some of the history behind the developments.

Five years doesn't seem that long ago, yet it feels like forever ago.-á KnowwhatImean?
Bo Gowan
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Bo Gowan,
User Rank: Lightning
3/15/2013 | 2:51:00 PM
re: Coherent Turns 5
We just posted an in-depth story that starts back over a decade ago when coherent was just an idea, and interviewed some of the R&D engineers who were involved in its early development.-á Some nice pictures of old people and products too.-á

Here's the link: http://www.ciena.com/connect/b...
Craig Matsumoto
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Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/14/2013 | 9:22:16 PM
re: Coherent Turns 5
The Will Arnett/Ryan Lawler outtake is not to be missed either: http://techcrunch.tumblr.com/p...
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