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Optical/IP

Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

In the world of long telecom cycles, it's optical networking's time again. Carriers are looking toward 100Gbit/s deployment while data centers are crying for even more bandwidth. The advent of reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADMs) is raising the promise of more flexible, agile networks and easier control.

We figured it was well past time for a Light Reading list of the people who are poised to make all this happen, the ones guiding optical networks into their next generation.

Some of the names will look more familiar than others. We strove for a mix of executives and in-the-trenches types. Did we miss anyone painfully obvious? Let us know on the message boards, below.

Contents:



— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:38:26 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

Obviously the list is up for discussion. Who'd we leave off? Which picks do you especially like (or not)?


The one uncontested choice was Glenn Wellbrock. Pretty much everybody we contacted said he had to be on the list -- hence his ranking. He was a busy guy at OFC/NFOEC.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:38:25 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

Hey, I like your list -- thanks for contributing, Odo!


Yeah, we did cop out on Huawei, but in a thought-out way that we thought was amusing (and kind of appropriate).  I don't think they can be left off of this list. In fact, if we were limited to one equipment vendor, I'd probably pick them. It's not like they're the Microsoft of this space, but they're on everybody's minds. They've got impact.


Google was sort of the opposite of a cop-out, I'd argue. If you don't like our pick, it's a consequence of our overthinking it. I'm certainly comfortable with it, but there's no doubt Bikash is a mover & shaker in his own right.


The Engana guys ... ah, there was bound to be an area we didn't explore deeply enough, so I'll concede that we should have considered them. In terms of near-term influence, though ... now that everybody claims to have gridless capability, how much more impact is Engana likely to have? (It's inside Finisar, for those who don't know, so it does have market reach.)

rahat.hussain 12/5/2012 | 5:38:25 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

nice choices overall ... extremely accomplished folks. but, as requested, some comments -


big thumbs up (or likes):


- wellbrock: clearly a mover and shaker, pushing the limits of technology, great articulation of the needs of the network.


- bowers: brilliant mind, wishing him good luck with his latest baby (aurrion)


- welch: proof is in the pudding, namely, a public company with deployed product based on his vision.


- diperna: absolutely one of the best leaders for pushing high bit-rates and more importantly coherent systems into the market.


 


questionable:


- alwan: clearly an lr favorite and in spite of an acknowledged lack of optical expertise and relevance to 100G or ROADMs, he sneaks in. may as well set up a popularity award and give it to him. clear a spot for a real shaker in optical. (who, you ask? see next category).


 


missing:


- frisken and poole: come on guys, you say roadms, you love wss' and no real proponent in this space. look no further (south) than our friends from engana. these are the pioneers of the flexible grid solutions. acknowledge it. now.


 


cop-out:


- google: clearly bikash is the guy, but you want to include others? that's quite alright i guess.


- huawei: really? not being able to name individuals is a clear sign that the moving and shaking is being done by committee.


 


unsure:


- cole, d'ambrosia (just don't know these guys or their accomplishments except being on standards committees).


- jain (just know idea who this guy is and why a backhaul guy is in this list, but what the heck, he is #10, and he gave lr an interview, so ok).


 


so, my top x list would be -


1. koley, wellbrock (carriers)


2. diperna, welch (systems)


3. bowers, frisken-poole (technology/components)


4. cole, d'ambrosia (standards) - if you say these are the guys, so be it.


 


ok, that's just nine people, but no point trying to find folks to fill the last slot. leave it at nine.


 


odo - who has now stirred the pot, if nothing else!


 


 


 

rhr 12/5/2012 | 5:38:22 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers An excellent and thought-provoking list.-áThe idea of movers and shakers implies scale and importance and that is reflected here. But in an ideal world where everything and everyoneGÇÖs work and value are known, one or two great Japanese operators and companies should be here too. The same applies to some individuals in Europe, say at Duetsche Telekom or FT.

Also a thought for some unheralded players. They don't have the scale but have some deep thinkers - in South Korea or at some European vendors. The likes of mid-size companies like ADVA, Transmode and Ekinops, or the odd Israeli entrepreneur or firm. They may fail the scale test and as such only make an official top-50 list but perhaps the true value of their innovation is higher.
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:37:59 PM
re: Top Ten: Optical Networking Movers & Shakers

Thanks rhr. Yes, I'll admit it's a North American-focused list -- reflecting the fact that we work out of North America and get the greatest amount of exposure to the folks who happen to be here.


Good point about the innovation in Japan. Companies and universities there are still very heavily represented in the OFC papers and post-deadlines. Maybe I should be more in touch with what's happening over there.


About the deep thinkers in the mid-sized companies... that's a very interesting idea. Maybe we could collect up a few of those names for a different kind of report someday.

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