Optical/IP Networks

ECOC Show Report

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 In fact, it was a list of folk to send press releases to, and it was wildly out of date.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:

40-Gig Developments

  • A multisource agreement (MSA) for 40-gig transponders was announced by a bunch of heavyweight vendors (see 40-Gig Transponder MSA Announced). The MSA should help stimulate competition and help drive down prices – although most manufacturers don’t expect the technology to be widely deployed until 2004 at the earliest. Companies signing the deal include Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR), Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), Alcatel Optronics (Nasdaq: ALAO; Paris: CGO.PA), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY), ExceLight Communications, JDS Uniphase Inc. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU), Mitsubishi Electric, NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY), and Opnext Inc.
  • Anritsu Corp. announced a 43-Gbit/s BERT (bit error rate tester – see Anritsu Ships Measurement Gear), following in the footsteps of Agilent, which announced a similar development at the NFOEC in July (see Agilent Launches 40-Gig Testers). Agilent is demonstrating its 43-Gbit/s BERT for the first time at ECOC.
  • 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. Amplifier Developments

  • JDS Uniphase announced a low cost (sub $2,000) SOA (semiconductor optical amplifier) targeting metro applications (see JDSU Expands Offerings).
  • Kamelian Ltd. also unveiled an innovative SOA (see Kamelian to Upstage Genoa?).
  • Low-cost alternatives to EDFAs (erbium-doped fiber amplifiers) targeting metro applications were announced by two other European startups: Teem Photonics and Cisilias A/S (see Which Amp is the Champ?). 10-Gbit/s Transponder Developments

  • Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) announced “the world's first complete CMOS Physical Medium Dependent (PMD) chipset for 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps) applications” (see Intel Announces 10-Gig Solutions). Some of Intel’s acquisitions – notably of Cognet – appear to be bearing fruit (see Intel Scoops Up Chips).
  • Multiplex Inc. also announced 10-gig transponder and photo-receiver developments (see Multiplex Introduces 10-Gig Parts).
  • JDSU announced a family of 10-Gbit/s modulators and modulator drivers with half the normal power requirements (see JDS Uniphase Introduces More Efficient Modulator and Modulator Driver).

    Laser Developments

  • 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).
  • Eblana Photonics, a Dublin-based startup, came out of stealth mode to announce “a new generation” of transmitters and pump lasers (see Eblana Photonics Debuts).
  • Tunable Photonics Corp. unveiled some compact lockers that ensure that lasers deliver precisely the required wavelength – an issue that’s becoming important now that the spacing of wavelengths in DWDM systems is being reduced (see Tunable Photonics Shows 'TrueLock'). Miscellaneous

  • 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.)
  • U.K. startup Polatis Ltd. finally came clean on how its all-optical switch manages to have such low insertion loss (see Polatis Reveals Switch Secrets).
  • 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).
  • Fitel Technologies Inc. demonstrated equipment that can align and splice fibers in 11 seconds (see Fitel Unveils Splicing Gear).
  • 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).

    — Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
  • Angelo 12/4/2012 | 7:47:02 PM
    re: ECOC Show Report I guess it is OpNext and not OpNet...
    Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 7:46:31 PM
    re: ECOC Show Report Re Intel's announcement, it stems from its acquisition of Cognet, not Light Logic or Giga, as I originally wrote. I've changed the story to reflect this. Thanks to the reader who pointed this out.

    We've also fixed the Opnet/Opnext mixup.

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