NFOEC: Engineers Throw Down

Catch your breath. The National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (NFOEC) is coming in less than a month. Set for the Baltimore Convention Center July 8–12, this is a conference geared to showcase advances in fiber optic technology, specifically for carrier use.

Unlike larger trade shows, this confab promises some surprises. Since it's smaller and more focused than some of the larger venues, some companies feel they can make more of a splash in the smaller pond.

A quick scan of companies exhibiting at the show highlights a few key areas:

  • Specialized optical components
    Makers of photonics parts and subsystems look to NFOEC as a conference where their message will be heard and understood. For that reason, some key companies that don't exhibit at larger, less specialized venues are turning up. One such is LaserComm Inc.. LaserComm will be demonstrating its C- and L-band high-mode chromatic dispersion device, which guarantees that the disperson slopes of wavelengths match up in optical networking gear.

  • Integrated optical components
    A range of other component companies also are on track for NFOEC, such as AIFOtec Fiberoptics, Lightwave Microsystems Corp., Multiplex Inc., and Zenastra Photonics Inc., to name just a few.

    "The whole wave of [component] integration will enable system suppliers to develop more cost-effective products," says David King, VP of marketing at Zenastra Photonics. "Devices will get smaller, cheaper, and faster. Integration is the way to make that happen."

    Each of these companies makes a different kind of optical component. But they all have one theme in common -- integration. Putting multiple components into a single package, subsystem, or chip makes it faster, cheaper, and easier for makers of optical systems to get their wares out the door.

    AIFOtec, for instance, plans to show how it will integrate its lasers, laser diodes, fiber optic muxes and demuxes, and fiber optic switches into fully integrated assemblies.

    Multiplex plans to introduce a 10-Gbit/s transponder that integrates a 1310-nanometer electro-absorption modulated laser with an OC192 (10 Gbit/s) transponder. While Multiplex also offers 1550nm packages, it says the 1310nm package offers performance advantages for gear designed for metro applications.

  • Advanced test gear for optical nets
    A range of vendors plan demonstrations of test equipment aimed specifically at installing and maintaining optical networks. Watch for gear from Acterna Corp. (Nasdaq: ACTR), Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), Avantas Networks, Exfo Electro-Optical Engineering Inc. (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF), and GN Nettest, among others.

  • Access solutions
    The ability to extend access to optical networks is key to making money from them. A slew of vendors will be on hand at NFOEC to showcase access wares. These will include vendors of metro access gear, such as Akara Corp. and Appian Communications; enterprise access gear, such as ADVA AG Optical Networking (Neuer Markt: ADV), Alloptic Inc., and LuxN Inc.; and makers of residential fiber-to-the-home solutions, such as Antec Corp. (Nasdaq: ANTC) and Terayon Communication Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: TERN).

    Makers of passive optical networking (PON) kit say that recently announced deployment plans at SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) and other carriers have legitimized the business case for their wares, which split light-based bandwidth for shared access to optical networks. Optical Solutions Inc., Quantum Bridge Communications Inc., and Terawave Communications will be on hand with products.

  • Funding and customer announcements
    Several companies say they plan business-related announcements for NFOEC. Word has it that Metro-Optix Inc., which makes bandwidth management platforms for city networks, may unveil new funding and customers. And, while not exhibiting at the show, Innovance Networks, a stealth-mode vendor of core wavelength management gear, has hinted it also plans a release.

    - Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
  • BackSlash 12/4/2012 | 9:45:15 PM
    re: NFOEC: Engineers Throw Down A slightly morbid look at NFOEC is who is NOT there...


    Possible reasons for not being there...

    a) They have done the sales pitches and their customers are not going to be there..
    b) Saving cash for another day..
    c) Don't see any point in being there because nobody is buying.

    gea 12/4/2012 | 9:45:13 PM
    re: NFOEC: Engineers Throw Down Well, I'm not sure there's necessarily a lot to be made of not-showing at NFOEC...it is distincly RBOC-focused in slant, and startups in particular are not necessarily going to be able to ante up the OSMINE dough to make an RBOC run worth bothering with.
    Steve Saunders 12/4/2012 | 8:14:47 PM
    re: NFOEC: Engineers Throw Down I was expecting to see MANY pre-announcements and show previews from NFOEC exhibitors. So far, it's been eerily quiet.

    If you're a vendor, and you're exhibiting at NFOEC, feel free to tell us your news nice and early.

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