Optical/IP Networks

Countdown to CeBIT

Germany's CeBIT technology trade show will open its doors in another couple of weeks -- and now is the time to get ready for it.

First, a few facts. It's staged in Hannover, it runs from March 13 to March 20 (from Wednesday to Wednesday including a weekend) and it's mind-bogglingly big.

Last year, the show clocked 8,106 exhibitors and about 850,000 visitors. In other words, it's seven times as big as Telecom 99, the last monster telecom show staged in Geneva by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). However, CeBIT covers a lot more than telecom. In fact, that's one of its problems: There's hall after hall of stuff like game software, PCs, monster printing machines, banking equipment, et cetera.

The mammoth size of the exhibition also creates another problem: It's far too big for Hannover. All the hotels are booked for years in advance. All the flights are full. All the roads around the show are jammed. No wonder the Germans call CeBIT a "Messe."

Of course, the size of CeBIT also has its attractions. It encourages a lot of exhibitors to announce new developments at the show. And CeBIT's a great place for meeting people, because virtually everybody goes there.

The best way to make the most of these opportunities, while minimizing the impact of over-stretched infrastructure, is to plan ahead. Figure out what's going on and whom you want to see before you set off.

That's why we've launched this special CeBIT show site on Light Reading. In the runup to the exhibition, we'll be publishing previews of the optical networking products being launched at CeBIT, as well as highlighting other events worth visiting. We'll also be covering news from the show itself, as it breaks.

Our goal goes beyond helping das Volk make the most of their visit to CeBIT. If you can't get to CeBIT (or you don't want to experience the world's biggest technology trade show in person) our site will let you see what you're missing: new products, traffic jams, technology showcases, strange goings-on, and anything else that arises.


As noted, the first thing to realize about CeBIT is that most of the halls aren't relevant to optical networking. The telecom and networking exhibits are in Halls 11 through 16 and Halls 25 through 27, on the southwest side of the site (see the map on the CeBIT website).

Unfortunately, there are still something like 1,600 exhibitors in these halls, so further narrowing down is necessary.

The CeBIT Website has some tools for sorting exhibitors into different categories, although some are better than others. Forget about sorting by product category, for instance; the descriptions appear to be way out of date. Routers, for example, are subdivided into a jumble of strange titles such as "ATM routers" and "Ethernet routers," but there's no listing for IP routers -- and Cisco isn't listed as a router vendor.

The best way forward is to sort by hall (this page may take a few moments to load because there are so many exhibitors). This makes it possible to pinpoint the halls where most of the leading optical networking vendors are present and to get a feeling for where different types of players might hang out.

Hall 12, for instance, includes a lot of telecom operators and a sprinkling of equipment vendors. Exhibitors include:

Hall 13 exhibitors include:

Hall 14 exhibitors include:

Hall 15 exhibitors include:

Hall 16 exhibitors include:

Hall 27 exhibitors include:

Here are a few other "CeBIT Special Displays" that might be worth checking out:

  • Network Information Center in Hall 15, Stand A14. Displays and presentations of the latest network technologies. Organized by the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) AG and NetworkWorld Germany. Organizations on the booth include the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the DECT Forum (DECT stands for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications), the MPLS Forum and the CEN/ISSS (CEN/ISS standards for Comité Européen de Normalisation/Information Society Standardization Systems). Note: the entry for the NIC on the official CeBIT website is one year out of date.

  • Equity World, in the middle of Hall 18. Venture capital companies are exhibiting and a conference on financing startups is being held.

  • Fibre Channel Exchange Pavilion, in Hall 16, Stand B34. A place for storage networking fans, organized by the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA).

  • Centre for Information Security (CFIS), in Hall 17, Stand C31. Lots of exhibitors touting security developments.

    — Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
    http://www.lightreading.com For more information on CeBIT, please visit: www.lightreading.com/cebit

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