OFC drumbeats quicken

March 7, 2003--After a slow start, momentum is beginning to build toward this month's OFC, to be held March 23-28 in Atlanta. Several companies have tipped their hands regarding announcements and demonstrations at the show.

Mar 7th, 2003

March 7, 2003--After a slow start, momentum is beginning to build toward this month's OFC, to be held March 23-28 in Atlanta. Several companies have tipped their hands regarding announcements and demonstrations at the show.

For example, LA Techniques of the UK, a pan-European supplier of pattern generators, will exhibit at the show for the first time, in partnership with Optimark Fiber Optics. The two companies reached an agreement in December 2002 that involves Optimark in sales, distribution, and acting as LA Techniques' representatives throughout North America.

The two firms will showcase LA Techniques' range of pulse pattern generators, data driver amplifiers, and related components. This will include the LA 19-02-01 12-Gbit/sec and the LA 19-01-01 2.7-Gbit/sec systems.

"There is considerable life in the North American market, especially for high-spec, low-cost equipment that delivers on its promises," according to Chris Lester, LA Techniques' sales and marketing director.

Meanwhile, Bookham Technology has followed its announcement earlier this week of its new approach toward an in-situ etch and regrowth process for uncooled InP buried-heterostructure lasers with word that it will present a paper at the show describing an uncooled 1310-nm DFB laser. Developed in conjunction with the Cambridge University Department of Engineering, the device combines ultrawide bandwidth with very high linearity over the temperature range of 25°C to 85°C without cooling, the company says.

"The big advantage of going to uncooled directly modulated lasers is they are cheaper, more compact and more efficient," says Kenton White, advisor, modulated sources technology at Bookham, and paper joint author. "Typically, you can take up to a watt of power consumption off, and, in terms of packaging, I would say there is a factor of two in area reduction in removing the cooler -- perhaps even more. And, of course, you don't need an expensive, and potentially complex, external modulator taking up more space and power. This would really help optics to move into the wireless area, for example, by solving the big problem of providing low-cost fibre-fed radio access points."

Lightbit Corp., an optical telecommunications subsystem provider founded in August 2000, will highlight the "pure-optical" processor chip technology it announced today. The company says the technology will vastly reduce the system cost for handling multiple channels over optical fiber networks. Applications supported by Lightbit subsystems include optical regeneration and multi-channel wavelength (band) conversion.

"Our chip harnesses the parallel processing power of light. We dramatically reduce per-channel cost of DWDM systems through multi-channel optical processing, just as the EDFA enabled dramatic cost reductions through multi-channel optical amplification," claims Larry Marshall, Lightbit CEO. "In the midst of the current economic downturn, both carriers and system vendors alike are eager to achieve these cost savings."

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