All-optical switching and DWDM creates challenges, according to IGI's Optical Interconnection Conference

June 6, 2001
June 6, 2001--IGI's Optical Interconnection conference, held in Boston on May 23, examined the various requirements for optical interconnect in the new and ever more complicated telecom networks.

IGI's Optical Interconnection conference, held in Boston on May 23, examined the various requirements for optical interconnect in the new and ever more complicated telecom networks. It explored the roles of several optical interconnection technologies and the opportunities to equipment vendors and operators.

Presentations from IGI, University of Alabama at Birmingham/Lucent Technologies, NeoCarta Ventures, Optical Cross Links, TyCo Electronics, Fibercomms, Schott Communications Technologies, and TeraConnect provided an in-depth look at optical interconnect technologies, market trends, optical interconnection challenges, and market potential.

"All-optical switching and DWDM does not reduce the needs for optical interconnection, rather, these technologies just create bigger challenges or messes. All optical switches need thousands of fibers terminating on one small unit, an 80 channel DWDM fiber can spawn 300-500 fiber jumpers in the office!" said Dr. Gary Grimes, executive director at the Center for Telecommunications Education and Research, University of Alabama at Birmingham, formerly with Lucent Technologies. "Being able to combine massive electronic switches with massive all-optical switches in the same platform and having the capability to manage enormous (1000s+) number of fibers using different topological rules in the same system will be the challenges for the 2000s. Optical interconnect technology will be increasingly important in telecom and datacom platforms going forward, and the fundamental technology drivers are cost and interconnection density," he continued.

Other presentation topics included:

-- Overview of optical interconnect technology and requirements;

-- Overview of optical network market trends;

-- Optical interconnection market dynamics and opportunities;

-- Next-generation high speed/high density optical interconnects;

-- Optical backplane/system interconnection technologies;

-- The role of plastic optical fibers (POF) in optical interconnects;

-- Polymeric optical interconnects;

-- Fiber optics interconnects;

-- Telecommunication applications of POF;

-- Intrasystem interconnection using POF in large telecom systems;

-- Goals and approaches for POF components;

-- Optical emitters for POF; and

-- Optical communications -- an investor's perspective.

Optical Interconnection is just one of the topics IGI has explored in its ongoing Photonics Briefings Series. Upcoming topics include Photonics Automation, Unrepeatered Submarine Fiber Optic Systems, Optical Networking Interoperability, Optical Access Markets, Metro Optical Networks, Photonic Crystals, Tunable Laser Markets, and Optical Switching. For more details, visit the Photonics Briefing web site at

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