By ROBERT PEASE
The annual NetWorld+Interop (N+I) conference and exhibition takes center stage once more at the Las Vegas Convention Center be ginning Sunday, May 7, through Friday, May 12. This year's theme, "Where the Network ing Community Con nects," should be especially meaningful for the fiber-optic community. After all, fiber is rapidly moving into areas previously dominated by copper, wireless, and other media.
As fiber emerges as a "medium of choice" in more and more segments of the market, including Internet and intranet architectures, it is rapidly gaining popularity at conferences such as N+I. This year's conference offers a week of interesting activities for the fiber-optic enthusiast. Here are a few fiber-related programs and sessions to look for.
Workshops and tutorials * The first workshops will be conducted Sunday, May 7, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and include a workshop on developing enterprise-network architectures. Other all-day workshops that may prove interesting include "Practical Under standing of Capacity Plan ning" (W965) on Monday and "Virtual Private Networks: In troduction and Best Practices" (W951) on Wednesday. Both workshops are held from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
If it's tutorials you're looking for, check out "Network Archi tectures and Protocols" (T101) or "Future LAN and WAN Tech nologies for Building High-Speed, Multiservice Ne tworks" (T222). Both tutorials run two full days, Sunday and Monday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
A few more tutorials to check out include "Designing, Building, and Managing Switch and Router-based Data Networks" (T201), a two-day class from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on Monday and Tuesday. On Thursday, a one-day tutorial will be offered on Gigabit Ethernet.
Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft Corp. will address attendees on Tuesday at 9 am Gates began programming at age 13 and, at 45, continues to lead the software industry. On Wednesday at 9 am, Larry Lang, vice president of service-provider marketing at Cisco Systems Inc. will lead a keynote panel on how to leverage the Internet and other emerging services for maximum advantage to businesses. Following Lang at 12:30 pm, David Peterschmidt, chairman of the board and CEO at Inktomi Cop. will present his views on the data world. Peterschmidt was at the helm of Sybase Inc. a database company, prior to joining Inktomi in 1996.
The Best of Show Awards at N+I honor the premier products and technologies for innovation, uniqueness, and groundbreaking developments. For the first time, attendees will cast votes for the People's Choice Award. A special awards ceremony will be held at the show to announce winners.
"Birds-of-a-feather" sessions, designed to bring attendees together to discuss networking issues, will be held Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm. This dynamic forum provides an opportunity to exchange ideas and share solutions in an informal, after-hours atmosphere. These peer discussions are open to all conference and exhibition attendees.
Several special-interest programs are scheduled throughout N+I, scattered throughout the conference from Monday through Thursday. They include:
- Strategic Interop. This conference will get attendees up to speed on the latest developments in the key issues, technologies, and management practices used by information-technology organizations.
- Network Processor Summit. This advanced industry summit focuses not just on the processors' technical aspects and prospects, but also their impact on the networking industry's current value chain.
- ASP Networks. The applications service-provider program covers strategies for success and the pitfalls to avoid when putting together a viable application offering.
- Engineers Conference. Learn from fellow engineers in detailed, highly technical discussions of the state-of-the-art technology in networking.
- VPN Day. This program shows how to implement or hone virtual private networks with real-world case studies and demonstrations of products.
- Network Forensics Day. Top network analysts lead this one-day conference on today's most challenging network-management issues.
- Voice-over-IP Day. This seminar examines technological basics as well as advantages, disadvantages, and commercial prospects for integrating data and voice traffic over the same infrastructure.
The technology sessions within the general conference focus on the core technologies that drive the industry as well as the challenges it faces as network infrastructures continue to evolve. The sessions run Tuesday through Thursday with eight technology tracks available: security, management, broadband local access, Web acceleration, converged campus, optical, multiservice WAN, and wireless. Track 6, the optical segment, begins Wednesday from 8 am to 5 pm. Topics include photon technology, all optical technologies, metropolitan-area-network architectures, wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM), and the optical edge.
The exhibition floor at N+I will feature more than 650 leading and emerging vendors demonstrating the latest in cutting-edge products and technologies for the telecommunications industry. Along with leaders in the industry, startup companies will also debut across the exhibition hall. Startup City, an exhibit area specifically designed for the newest of the new, will showcase the most innovative products and services from the most recent entrants into the telecommunications market. The exhibit floor is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am to 6 pm, and Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm.