AMSTERDAM – ECOC – Some people will remember this week’s ECOC exhibition for the “Harbor Hall” – a big tent housing the exhibits that overflowed Amsterdam's RAI Center. The $200,000 tent swayed around so violently in the wind today that some visitors ran for cover, fearing the equipment in the ceiling might come crashing down.
Others will remember ECOC for the lack of signage (sponsored by Intel), which made finding it and then navigating the halls a trifle difficult. They're also likely to recall the organizers' blaring public announcements – particularly the ones haranguing journalists to "get on over to booth X where the exhibitor is waiting to tell you about its products."
Originally, the organizers sent a list of about 400 journalists to exhibitors, many of whom took it to be a list of reporters planning to go to ECOC. In fact, it was a list of folk to send press releases to, and it was wildly out of date. A couple of the journalists on the list had been dead for two years, PR firms told Light Reading. Between 30 and 40 live journalists actually showed up.
That's more than Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) managed to do. It was notably absent from the show, even though Nortel's advert adorned the back cover of the catalogue. A total of 10 companies pulled out of exhibiting at the last minute, according to the show organizer. Quite a few of the 250-plus companies that did exhibit said they were disappointed by the low turn-out of visitors – which looked as though it might total 2,500, the organizer said.
Still, ECOC was bigger and better than last year, and plenty of exhibitors used the event to announce their latest developments. As might be expected, many of the announcements were subdued – and the emphasis was on products that promised a decent return on investment rather than on technology that might revolutionize telecom networks.
There were some exceptions to this rule. Here's what we considered noteworthy:
Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX) unveiled another member of its 40-gig family of communications chips (see Infineon Announces 40-Gig Chip). The company claims that it’s the first time four OC192 framer and pointer processing devices have been crammed onto a single chip.
JDS Uniphase announced a low cost (sub $2,000) SOA (semiconductor optical amplifier) targeting metro applications (see JDSU Expands Offerings).
Novalux Inc. announced low cost, high performance, 100mw and 200mw, 1310nm pump lasers for EDFAs in metro networks (see Novalux Pushes Pumps). The company spilled some of the beans on its VCSEL (vertical cavity surface emitting laser) technology at the OFC conference earlier this year, when it unveiled more powerful products (see Novalux Details Laser Advance).
A 40-channel power monitor and a 40-channel VOA (variable optical attenuator) mux was announced by WaveSplitter Technologies Inc. The power monitor is a joint development with Infineon, while the VOA mux is a joint development with Gemfire Corp. (Read more about this in a forthcoming article.)
Agere announced a “multi-million dollar contract” to supply amplifier components for the DWDM systems being developed by Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE). It also announced three rather boring products – a thin film filter multiplexer/demultiplexer for use in DWDM systems of up to 40 channels; an 8-channel, high-voltage driver chip; and “a single-channel logarithmic optical feedback amplifier for use in all-optical networking switches based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology” (see Agere Announces Products, Contract).
Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) talked up a manufacturing advance that allows it to put two light beams through a filter or crystal component, thus reducing the footprint and cost of optics parts (see Corning Improves DWDM Filters).