OFC 2004 was pleasant enough, relocated from Anaheim to the more cosmopolitan Los Angeles.
The mood this year was bright: Several attendees described the show as "Not nearly as depressing."
That said, the news was slow. There weren't a huge number of new developments, but we did manage to uncover a modest partnership deal, some hollow fiber, tunable components, and some ROADM activity:
- Lucent and Movaz Seal Deal
- Keynote Curse Strikes Again
- Cao Unites Chinese Components Vendors
- Forum Airs China Questions
- Tunables Chart a Comeback
- Hollow Fiber: No Pipe Dream
- Fiber Makers Perk Up
- DWDM Goes to War
- PhoXtal Takes to the ROADM
Service Providers in the Dark?
Here's a nice metaphor for the industry: During a panel at Wednesday’s Service Provider Summit, the lights in the room suddenly went out, and apparently nobody knew how to turn them back on.
Without skipping a beat, moderator David Piehler, VP of research and development at Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT), continued to conduct the panel without lights. Someone provided him with a flashlight so that he could coordinate speakers, as the audience watched in total darkness.
When Piehler was done speaking, he continued to guide the panelists with a flashlight, asking Ralph Ballart of SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) to speak.
"I think I’m gonna hand the flashlight over to Ralph," said Piehler.
Maybe there's hope for passive optical networking (PON) in the U.S. after all. Hitachi Telecom (USA) Inc. was quietly showing off a PON option that takes advantage of the company's DSL expertise. The idea is to use PON to reach from the central office to, say, the side of an apartment building. From there, the AMN1400 system transfers the signal onto VDSL, delivering it to end users via copper.
"VDSL is distance-limited. So you use PON to solve the distance problem and VDSL to solve the problem of not having fiber in the last 100 feet," says David Foote, CTO of Hitachi Telecom. Hitachi has installed this architecture in Japan and is scouting for North American possibilities, Foote says.
Separately, NTT Group (NYSE: NTT) noted that its next PON step won't be the Gigabit PON (GPON) standardized by the ITU. Instead, the company likes the GE-PON option produced by the IEEE. "We are going to complete the development of GE-PON systems by the second quarter of this year," said Hiromichi Shirohara, NTT's director of access networks, during an OFC presentation.
For the more distant PON future, researchers from Samsung Corp. delivered a post-deadline paper on a hybrid PON using both time division multiplexing and wavelength division multiplexing (TDM and WDM; it's paper number PDP4, if you've got the handy OFC book). Researchers used 16 wavelengths to feed 128 subscribers off of one fiber. Most PONs today serve about 32 subscribers per feed.