& cplSiteName &

Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

Craig Matsumoto

5. Dave Welch, Infinera
It took a lot of years and a lot of money to get Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) past the novelty stage, but it's now a true contender in DWDM. The question is whether its next product, the DTN-X, can be as powerful as the first. If so, then Infinera stands to make a big difference in the 100Gbit/s generation, and Welch, who's been with the company from the beginning, would stand a chance to continue its influence into the 1Tbit/s era as well.

4. John D'Ambrosia, Dell
He technically works for Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL), but really, John D'Ambrosia is known as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) guru for higher-speed Ethernet -- with "higher speed" defined as "whatever comes next." Instrumental in recent product generations up to 100Gbit/s -- which is still a work in progress, he stresses -- D'Ambrosia is doing advance scouting for the 400Gbit/s or 1Tbit/s generation. Among his multiple IEEE commissions is a project to assess bandwidth demand and determine exactly what's needed for this next generation -- because, as he's been emphasizing, it's already past time to start working on it. Look for him to continue prodding the industry forward.

3. Hong Liu, Google
Bikash Koley, technical lead for network architecture and planning at Google, undoubtedly makes some big decisions and is the guy you see at conferences. He's the spokesman for the massive bandwidth requirements Google and other data-center owners are facing. But we're told that when you get down to the optical details, Liu is the person you need on your side. Components vendors are turning her way for guidance on how to craft the next generations of data-center parts.

2. Huawei
Sources couldn't decide on one person inside Huawei to nominate. We're told that if you get Huawei's interest, they don't send one guy to talk; they descend en masse, working like a hive mind, as one source described it.

Yet, Huawei's position in the market can't be ignored. It's joined the optical market-share leaders and has home-field advantage when dealing with Chinese carriers. Even without a celebrity point person, Huawei's optical work affects the industry, and it certainly affects competitors such as Alcalu, Ciena, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. .

1. Glenn Wellbrock, Verizon
Everybody in optical networking wants Glenn Wellbrock's ear. No carrier has evangelized the next-generation network harder than Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), and Wellbrock is the point man. (Stuart Elby has been a prominent name at Verizon, too, but his attention is more on things like software-defined networking these days.)

Not every carrier shares Verizon's point of view, but there's no question the carrier has shaped vendor roadmaps. It's Verizon, for instance, that's dictated much of today's direction in ROADMs. Verizon has been coming to conferences with big diagrams of the colorless, directionless, contentionless optical network, and a couple of years ago, it kick-started the discussion about flexible-grid ROADMs, too.

Verizon is out to distinguish itself in the context of driving the industry. The carrier wants to be an innovator, and it's pulling the optical equipment and components vendors behind it.

To close out the list, here's our OFC/NFOEC interview with Wellbrock:

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:38:26 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

Obviously the list is up for discussion. Who'd we leave off? Which picks do you especially like (or not)?

The one uncontested choice was Glenn Wellbrock. Pretty much everybody we contacted said he had to be on the list -- hence his ranking. He was a busy guy at OFC/NFOEC.

Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:38:25 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

Hey, I like your list -- thanks for contributing, Odo!

Yeah, we did cop out on Huawei, but in a thought-out way that we thought was amusing (and kind of appropriate).  I don't think they can be left off of this list. In fact, if we were limited to one equipment vendor, I'd probably pick them. It's not like they're the Microsoft of this space, but they're on everybody's minds. They've got impact.

Google was sort of the opposite of a cop-out, I'd argue. If you don't like our pick, it's a consequence of our overthinking it. I'm certainly comfortable with it, but there's no doubt Bikash is a mover & shaker in his own right.

The Engana guys ... ah, there was bound to be an area we didn't explore deeply enough, so I'll concede that we should have considered them. In terms of near-term influence, though ... now that everybody claims to have gridless capability, how much more impact is Engana likely to have? (It's inside Finisar, for those who don't know, so it does have market reach.)

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:38:25 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

nice choices overall ... extremely accomplished folks. but, as requested, some comments -

big thumbs up (or likes):

- wellbrock: clearly a mover and shaker, pushing the limits of technology, great articulation of the needs of the network.

- bowers: brilliant mind, wishing him good luck with his latest baby (aurrion)

- welch: proof is in the pudding, namely, a public company with deployed product based on his vision.

- diperna: absolutely one of the best leaders for pushing high bit-rates and more importantly coherent systems into the market.



- alwan: clearly an lr favorite and in spite of an acknowledged lack of optical expertise and relevance to 100G or ROADMs, he sneaks in. may as well set up a popularity award and give it to him. clear a spot for a real shaker in optical. (who, you ask? see next category).



- frisken and poole: come on guys, you say roadms, you love wss' and no real proponent in this space. look no further (south) than our friends from engana. these are the pioneers of the flexible grid solutions. acknowledge it. now.



- google: clearly bikash is the guy, but you want to include others? that's quite alright i guess.

- huawei: really? not being able to name individuals is a clear sign that the moving and shaking is being done by committee.



- cole, d'ambrosia (just don't know these guys or their accomplishments except being on standards committees).

- jain (just know idea who this guy is and why a backhaul guy is in this list, but what the heck, he is #10, and he gave lr an interview, so ok).


so, my top x list would be -

1. koley, wellbrock (carriers)

2. diperna, welch (systems)

3. bowers, frisken-poole (technology/components)

4. cole, d'ambrosia (standards) - if you say these are the guys, so be it.


ok, that's just nine people, but no point trying to find folks to fill the last slot. leave it at nine.


odo - who has now stirred the pot, if nothing else!




User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:38:22 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers
An excellent and thought-provoking list.-áThe idea of movers and shakers implies scale and importance and that is reflected here. But in an ideal world where everything and everyoneGÇÖs work and value are known, one or two great Japanese operators and companies should be here too. The same applies to some individuals in Europe, say at Duetsche Telekom or FT.

Also a thought for some unheralded players. They don't have the scale but have some deep thinkers - in South Korea or at some European vendors. The likes of mid-size companies like ADVA, Transmode and Ekinops, or the odd Israeli entrepreneur or firm. They may fail the scale test and as such only make an official top-50 list but perhaps the true value of their innovation is higher.
Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:37:59 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

Thanks rhr. Yes, I'll admit it's a North American-focused list -- reflecting the fact that we work out of North America and get the greatest amount of exposure to the folks who happen to be here.

Good point about the innovation in Japan. Companies and universities there are still very heavily represented in the OFC papers and post-deadlines. Maybe I should be more in touch with what's happening over there.

About the deep thinkers in the mid-sized companies... that's a very interesting idea. Maybe we could collect up a few of those names for a different kind of report someday.

Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
Oh Snap! Qualcomm Unveils X50, Its First 5G Modem
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/17/2016
WiCipedia: Grace Hopper Promotes Diversity, Girl Scouts Code & How to Thrive
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 10/21/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.