September - Lightwave


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Archive for 'September 2010'

    A final look at ECOC

    September 27, 2010 8:12 AM by Stephen Hardy

    Having dodged a national strike in France last Thursday, I'm back in the office and reviewing my notes from ECOC in Turin. While I don't have official numbers from the show organizers yet, my impression is that the show topped last year's in terms of attendance. Certainly the companies on the floor with whom I spoke expressed approval of the traffic levels and quality.

    As for the conference, the only complaints I heard concerned the conference rooms themselves. Most were temporary structures, and you could occasionally hear what was going on in the room next to you.

    But overall, the bar has been set for Geneva next year, September 18-21. Meanwhile, here are a few salient tidbits that didn't make my earlier notebooks (see the Day 1 notebook and that for Days 2 and 3):

    • With all the talk about 40G/100G from the technology suppliers, the test equipment developers stood ready to assist. Companies such as JDSU (with its ONT 100G), Agilent (with its N4391A optical modulation analyzer), and EXFO (with its PSO-200 Optical Modulation Analyzer) showed off established products, the latter two primarily aimed at coherent modulation applications. Optametra also is active in this field, and the company's VP of engineering, Daniel van der Weide, was showing off its OM4106 Coherent Lightwave Signal Analyzer in the LeCroy booth, paired with LeCroy's WaveMaster 830 Zi oscilloscope. van der Weide reported that, judging by the level of expertise visitors to the booth displayed, technology developers were now up to speed on coherent technology overall, and were asking questions about how to perform specific measurements. This trend illustrates the growing maturity of the technology, as well as the fact that carriers will soon deploy coherent-enabled systems in more than ones and twos -- which probably will mean field versions of the constellation analyzers Optametra and its competitors currently supply for the lab. That idea has occurred to van der Weide as well, and he's already started thinking about how to pull off such a transition. No word on when that might happen, however.
    • LeCroy, meanwhile, touted an upgrade to the WaveMaster 830 Zi that will up its capabilities from 4x30 GHz to 4x45 GHz by the first month of 2011. van der Weide was excited about the kinds of measurements one could do with that kind of horsepower. The scope has more high-speed uses than as a platform for coherent analysis, however, including 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet technology testing. LeCroy also showed off a soon-to-be announced S-parameter analyzer, called the SPARQ (for "S-parameter Quickly," according to a wag at the booth).
    • Anritsu highlighted its newly released MD1260A 40/100G Ethernet Analyzer.
    • However, not everyone needs all the bells and whistles -- and the expense -- of the fancy BERT and communication analyzer test sets, according to Picosecond Pulse Labs. For these users, PPL offers the new Model 12060 20-GHz pattern generator. It offers programmable data rate, amplitude, offset, and crossing point, among other features. It supports single bit error injection; a built-in jitter injection option is coming soon.
    • Luceo Technologies of Germany displayed the L-6001-PHS-1 Phase Shifter Module for the XBERT and ParalleX chassis. The module splits the REF-CLK into six different REF-CLK outputs; each of these outputs can be delayed by up to +/- 200 ps. The feature enables users to align the output patterns of multiple Luceo E-BERT modules or introduce well-defined delays. This would help with crosstalk measurements in multichannel applications, Luceo says.

    Meanwhile, what's good for coherent technology is good for Raman amplifiers and Raman/EDFA hybrids. RED-C Optical Networks unveiled one, Furukawa Electric displayed one, and JDSU has one too. Raman also is good for low-latency networks -- an application whose 15 minutes of fame are just about up, sources agreed, unless someone can find a demand for it beyond financial networks.

    Finally, Oclaro will finally give JDSU some competition in the tunable XFP space, thanks to its newly announced module. However, JDSU has taken full advantage of being first to market, and has signed up 32 customers for its device. Meanwhile, a source at Opnext labeled his company's failure to have a tunable XFP on the market "a disappointment."


    ECOC Reporters' Notebook, Days 2 & 3

    September 22, 2010 4:25 AM by Stephen Hardy

    After a day so busy I didn't have time to post anything, I'm back with more from Turin. My schedule on Day 2 mirrored activity on the show floor, which was quite busy.

    • Someone at the Oclaro booth remarked that the sudden interest in 100G at last year''s ECOC caught him and others by surprise. Companies clearly came prepared this year, as 40G and 100G coherent technology dominates the show floor: One of the more interesting companies discussing their role in coherent detection development is ViaSat. As its name implies, the company cut its teeth in the satellite realm -- which, representatives at the booth said, makes optical transmission a piece of cake by comparison. The company is offering FEC and DSP IP, which they'll supply in ASIC form if required. Not surprisingly, given the fact that these have been considered two of the more difficult pieces to fit properly within the coherent receiver puzzle, they say they have customers for their IP already. They also say they have QAM and OFDM expertise ready for what comes next. 
    • The show continues to buzz about a debate during a Market Focus presentation on Monday between Bikash Koley of Google and Chris Cole (sp?) of Finisar regarding the merits of 10x10G versus 4x25G for 100 Gigabit Ethernet. The gentleman from Google asserted that 10x10G would be superior, less complex, and less costly; the gentleman from Finisar respectfully disagreed. The debate highlighted a potential question about who will drive the 100GbE market. Cisco is said to favor 4x25G, and therefore many module vendors are following that lead. However, can large customers such as Google (potentially with the assistance of other large data center customers such as Facebook and Amazon) turn the tide toward 10x10G? A Santur emitter array for 10x10G is on display within the JDSU booth; a JDSU source says this signals an arrangement designed to last longer than four days in Turin.

    1:20 PM: While most of the talk here at the show is about 40/100G, there's also a fair amount going on regarding gridless ROADM technology. Carriers' desire to be ready for what comes after 100G -- and the likelihood that it won't fit neatly on the ITU grid. The problem, of course, is that no one is really sure what comes after 100G (although there seems to be a consensus building around the idea of aiming for 400 Gbps before tackling 1 Tbps) and what its spectral requirements will be. But such uncertainty has not stopped carriers from assuming that their suppliers will figure something out -- and they're right:

    • Finisar is showing off its FlexGrid technology, which offers 12.5-GHz granularity from 25 GHz to 200 GHz. The demonstration uses the company's WaveShaper platform, but of course would eventually be applied to wavelength-selective switches (WSSs). The software-based application can change both the spectral bandwidth and the center channel. Finisar's Rafik Ward says they'll see the technology to their system vendor customers to enable them to provide the capability as a feature of their equipment, rather than to carriers directly,
    • Oclaro, meanwhile, is touting dynamic spectrum capabilities for its 2x1 WSS. The new feature supports granularity of 25 GHz, which Oclaro's Scott Parker says should prove adequate to the occasion. Oclaro should have the enhanced MEMS-based WSS generally available by the second quarter of next year. Application to WSSs with higher port counts will follow shortly thereafter. Parker and Krishna Bala say that the demand for this capability is not universal; some carriers see a tradeoff between such flexibility and high port counts, which they also want. So it would not appear that Oclaro will make this capability a standard feature on its WSSs, at least not initially.
    • So when do carriers really want this capability? Between sources at Finisar and Oclaro, plus other companies in the ROADM space or who supply to it, timelines range from "next year" to "2012 to 2013 -- far enough away for something to happen that might provide direction, but near enough that vendors have to work on it."

     Read the Day 1 Notebook as well as my final look at ECOC.

    Transceiver survey returns

    September 21, 2010 1:50 AM by Stephen Hardy

    Those of you who read Lightwave may recall our annual transceiver purchasing surveys. Once a year, we'd poll our readers who either buy transceivers for use in their networks (in the case of service providers and enterprise network managers) or in their equipment designs to ask them what they're buying and why.

    You can find an example of the results by reading "Readers rate transceiver/transponder vendors" from one of our past issues.

    As you'll see, the insights we gained from these surveys were sometimes surprising and always interesting.

    So, by popular demand, we're doing it again. We've sent questionnaires to our e-zine circulation database -- but, of course, our subscription list no longer entirely encompasses our audience. So I'm blogging about this for two reasons:

    1. For our subscribers who have received the questionnaire but have not yet completed it, now is the time -- we're wrapping up the survey this week.
    2. For those of you who read us only via this website, I'd like to invite you to participate as well. If you buy transceivers for your network or design equipment that uses transceivers, we'd like to hear from you. (Notice I didn't include "If you make or design transceivers." This survey isn't for you if you're a transceiver supplier.) If you'd like to participate, email me at, tell me how you or your company uses transceivers, and I'll send you a link to the survey.

    But time is of the essence -- as I said, we're about to close the survey. (We're taking advantage of the fact that I'm running around ECOC and not in position to write up the survey results to gather a few more responses.) So take advantage of the opportunity to tell us -- and your suppliers -- what's important to you when it comes to selecting and using transceivers/transponders.

    I promise you'll find the results fascinating. 


    ECOC Reporter's Notebook: Day 1

    September 20, 2010 10:30 AM by Stephen Hardy

    12:30 PM: Greetings from the press room in Turin, where ECOC 2010 is off to a somewhat sedate start. Not surprisingly, much of what's on display pertains to 40 and 100 Gbps. For example:

    • Among other things, GigOptix is showing off modulator drivers for 100G, in particular the quad GX62455 and the dual-channel GX62255 for DP-QPSK applications. In addition to meeting requirements for smaller size, combining drivers in multi-channel packages became necessary when single-channel devices exhibited too much cross talk problems, says Padraig O'Mathuna. These single-channel units likely will be targeted now at 40G applications, he says. Speaking of 40G, O'Mathuna says the company still sees strong demand for DQPSK components. -- but that the demand for 100G technology is even stronger.
    • Opnext President and CEO Gilles Bouchard, meanwhile, says that his company's 40G business is doing just fine, thanks for asking. While the market "went dry" during the beginning of the economic downturn last year, Bouchard says he is seeing strong module demand for both DPSK (particularly for deployment in Brazil and China) and DQPSK (for China, Japan, submarine, and even some European applications). The company has 40G coherent on the roadmap, although its main coherent focus is on 100G. Despite the fact that Tier 1 suppliers such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, and others have developed the first generation of 100G in-house, Bouchard believes his company will be able to address at least half of the total market for 100G when its offering becomes available next year. Bouchard and David Sykes (ex-StrataLight), meanwhile, believe that even the current 100G do-it-yourselfers will look at modules for second-generation systems, particularly those targeted at metro and regional applications.
    • Cube Optics is nearing beta sampling of a 40G LR4 TOSA/ROSA module. The company also is readying a 100G ROSA, which it hopes to have in production by the end of the year.


    Lightwave ONE: A service provider conference?

    September 14, 2010 5:42 PM by Stephen Hardy

    Well, actually, yes: The Lightwave's Optical Networks for Enterprises (ONE) Conference is an event for service providers.

    It's not just for service providers, of course -- there will be plenty of of sessions that will appeal to enterprise managers. We'll offer presentations on cabling the enterprise, choosing the right equipment, and developing an optical networking strategy that will keep the average network manager on his/her boss's good side.

    But enterprise managers frequently can't meet their requirements alone. That's where service providers come in, with managed offerings, dark fiber, low-latency connections, and other products -- all of which require an understanding of the optical networking options as well. So the conference also will have sessions that will meet the information needs of service providers as well. For example:

    • The Role of Optical Networks in Cloud Computing
    • Low Latency Network Strategies
    • Powering Desk to Desk Dynamic Ethernet Lightpaths
    • Evolved Packet Transport and Enterprise Services

    ...and more. You can find out more about the conference program on the Lightwave ONE website.

    Don't let the name fool you. Lightwave ONE will appeal to service providers as much as it will to enterprise network managers.

    Australia NBN back on -- by one seat

    September 7, 2010 9:05 AM by Stephen Hardy

    Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), placed in limbo when national elections failed to create a clear majority government, is back on after the incumbent Labor Party won the backing of enough Green and independent members of Parliament to stay in power.

    Labor and the independents who back the party now control 76 of the 150 seats in the Australian Parliament.

    NBN Co., the company created to manage the NBN's construction, naturally welcomed the news. "The team at NBN Co has been working on business as usual in the post-election period, while limiting discretionary expenditure, extending the deadline for some tenders and putting the award of several tenders on hold," the company said in a press statement. "We will now work to restore deferred processes, including the recruitment of staff."

    Alcatel-Lucent, which won a contact to supply GPON FTTH gear for the NBN, is undoubtedly happy as well.

    According to ITNews of Australia, at least two of the critical members of Parliament cited the NBN as a factor in backing Labor. A deal between Labor and the independents covering uniform national wholesale prices for the NBN and priority infrastructure rollout in regional areas was crucial to gaining the independents' support, ITNews says.


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Stephen Hardy

Stephen Hardy has covered fiber optics for more than 15 years, and communications and technology for more than 30 years. He is responsible for establishing and executing Lightwave's editorial strategy across its digital magazine, website, newsletters, research and other information products. He has won multiple awards for his writing.

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Stephen Hardy

Stephen has covered fiber optics for more than a dozen years, and communications and technology for more than 25 years. He is responsible for establishing and executing Lightwave's editorial strategy across its digital magazine, website, newsletters, research and other information products. He has won multiple awards for his writing. 

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