Next generation of optical networking takes root here, says Illinois Coalition

Aug. 24, 2001--Illinois is making big strides to attract and sustain next generation communications network companies.

Bolstered by the commitment from local civic leaders to improve the city's communications infrastructure and build out its communications network, Illinois is making big strides to attract and sustain next generation communications network companies, especially those rooted in optical networking.

"Optical networking holds the promise of being a powerful force for change," said Joel Mambretti, Director of Northwestern University's International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR). iCAIR is working on a number of large-scale optical networking projects, including metro-based, state-wide, regional, national, and international.

Firms located in Illinois include Looking Glass Networks in Oak Brook, and Clear in Lincolnshire. Looking Glass Networks builds next generation metro optical networks for metro bandwidth services. The company secured nearly half a billion dollars before it turned up its first metro network in July. Chicago will be one of the first major metro areas to benefit from its network services.

Clear is a supplier of core optical, broadband and digital transport network management software for optical networks, with an emphasis on operating support systems (OSS). Clear's recent influx of $20 million from venture capital firms, including Chicago-based William Blair Capital Partners VII, is banking on the growing need in the service assurance market as the key to the company's continued success.

About The Illinois Coalition:

The Illinois Coalition is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization of representatives from business, labor, government, education, and research dedicated to a single overriding goal: to strengthen Illinois' economy through science and technology. For more information, visit

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