ECOC '99 promises the latest buzz

Th 0899 News Table1

The fiber-optics industry will gather at the Acropolis Convention and Exhibition Center in Nice, France, from September 26 to 30 to explore state-of-the-art technologies, discover the latest products, and trade visions for future applications during the 25th European Conference on Optical Communication, ECOC '99. The conference consists of four parallel sessions with contributed papers, oral presentations, poster sessions, invited papers, and tutorials on topics of current interest to the industry (see schedule at end of article).

In addition to the technical presentations, attendees will have the opportunity to visit with more than 120 exhibitors from around the world, who will be showing their wares and introducing new products and features in the exhibition area. Ample time has been scheduled to allow exchange of information and ideas with colleagues on the exhibition floor.

"There are two parts to ECOC '99: the conference and the exhibition. Compared to previous years, there is more synergy between the two as a result of a liaison committee," explains Jean Jerphagnon, conference chairman for ECOC '99. "As for the conference, there is some continuity with ECOC '98 with the confirmation of trends that have been observed for the past two or three years. There is an increasing importance in the exhibition as a result of the growing business associated with DWDM. We expect more than 1000 attendees, an increase from last year, and themes that will focus on fiber, passive optical components, optoelectronic components, systems, and networks. Highlights of the conference will include the steady increase of bit rates into terabits and beyond; new photonic network architectures; network elements such as add/drop multiplexers, crossconnects, and switches; and photonic network management."

Conference-related activity begins with the presentation of several short courses, co-organized with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Communications Society. These courses, as well as a pair of workshops, are being offered prior to the conference on Sunday, September 26. The courses will be offered in two three-course sessions from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 5 p.m. The first session (short courses 1, 2, and 3) are as follows:

Short course #1: Optical Crossconnects--Paul E. Green Jr., Tellabs, USA, discusses the requirement for routing nodes in the form of optical crossconnects to enable wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) technology to advance beyond simply another multiplexing technique. Two forms being introduced are the completely optical large photonic switch and the optical-to-electrical-to-optical (OEO) version. The course will compare advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches, review the technology options, and discuss the perceived near-term applications for optical networking using optical crossconnects.

Short course #2: Solitons dispersion management and WDM for high-speed and long-haul transmission--N. J. Doran, Aston University, UK, explains why the potential of solitons for data encoding in high-data-rate systems has yet to be realized. The course begins with a brief review of solitons and an explanation in simple terms of their attractive features. The course then focuses on dispersion management of solitons and how this technique overcomes the problems associated with conventional soliton transmission, concluding with a review of the latest experimental realizations and a view of the future.

Short course #3: Wavelength-routing optical networks--Kumar N. Sivarajan, Indian Institute of Technology, India, addresses the combination of WDM with wavelength switching and routing capabilities to produce wavelength-routing optical networks. The course will describe the motivations for the deployment of wavelength-routing networks as an optical layer, discussing the available architectural options and the tradeoffs involved, including the effects of full/limited/no wavelength conversion. Focusing on two specific problems, assessments and suggestions will be obtained for further research.

The second session (short courses 4, 5, and 6) are as follows:

Short course #4: Polarization-mode dispersion--Singlemode fibers actually support two modes: the two polarization modes. Despite very significant progress over the last years, polarization-mode dispersion (PMD) remains a central issue both for measurement specialists and system engineers. In this course, Nicolas Gisin of Geneva University in Switzerland introduces the basic concepts, measurement schemes, and impacts on transmission systems.

Short course #5: Fiber-based amplification techniques--This course, conducted by David Payne, University of Southampton, UK, is intended to give a comprehensive overview of the current status of optical-fiber amplifiers. The course is divided into three parts: new approaches and technologies in development of broadband erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs), compound glass and new wavelength amplifiers, and recent progress of distributed and discrete Raman amplifiers.

Short course #6: Internet protocol over WDM--Dr. Thomas Banwell, Telcordia Technologies, USA, leads a review of recent research and development activities in Internet protocol (IP) over WDM, comparing its advantages and disadvantages over traditional techniques. Beginning with an overview of high-speed Internet technologies, terabit routers and switches, and WDM systems, Banwell will discuss techniques to implement IP over WDM networks and new approaches to burst mode switching and rapidly configurable optical networks.

As mentioned previously, two workshops are slated for Sunday, September 26, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the convention center. No separate registration is required to attend a workshop.

The first workshop, Manageability of Optical Networks, is jointly organized by ACTS Project HORIZON and the Photonic Networking Forum. Based on sessions led by invited experts from Europe, Japan, and the United States, this workshop focuses on management and control methods and standards of new optical networks. There is concern in the industry that although the implementation of WDM technologies is the first evolutionary step toward pure optical transport networks, there are still problems to address. The networks must be managed in a reasonable technological and economical way.

The second workshop focuses on the booming business of submarine optical communications. Submarine Communications will gather experts within the technical domain for long-haul transmission with the intention of discussing the more recent progress that is expected to maintain the dynamism of the business. This workshop will cover all important aspects of the area, including submarine network evolution, transmission modeling, and ultra-high-capacity transmission experiments. Open discussion is encouraged, and a round table will cap off the workshop with an exchange of ideas and contributions.

The technical program of oral presentations will follow lunch on Monday, September 27, and run through Thursday, September 30, with post-deadline sessions and a short closing session. Four parallel sessions will take place, interspersed with lunch and refreshment breaks.

The following topics will be included in the technical sessions:

1. Fibers, cables and fiber components

  • theory on propagation characteristics
  • design and transmission characteristics
  • fabrication, materials, coating and reliability
  • measurement techniques and test procedures
  • splicing and connectors
  • splitters, couplers, and filters
  • WDM and optical time-division multiplexing (OTDM) components
  • fiber-based lasers and amplifiers
  • nonlinear effects
  • special fibers
  • new fibers for transmission
  • low-loss plastic optical fibers
  • fiber gratings and related devices
  • fiber-optic functional/passive devices

2. Optoelectronics and integrated optics devices

  • device theory, modeling, and simulation
  • materials, processing, and micro-fabrication
  • semiconductor laser and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), photodetectors, semiconductors laser amplifiers, and modulators/switches
  • wavelength converters
  • vertical-cavity lasers
  • guided-wave and micro-optic devices
  • photonic band-gap devices
  • quantum wire and dots
  • nonlinear-optical devices
  • high-speed optoelectronic devices
  • photonic switching devices
  • optical/electrical integrated circuits (OEICs) and photonic ICs
  • two-dimensional array devices
  • photonic devices for optical interconnection, computing, and image/ signal processing
  • related technologies for fabrication, characterization, and packaging

3. Systems technologies

  • transmitter/receiver design and performance
  • coherent optical detection
  • system applications of ultra-fast phenomena
  • soliton transmission
  • optically amplified/WDM transmission systems
  • analog and multichannel transmission technologies
  • cable-television (CATV) distribution technologies
  • fiber radio and microwave photonics
  • theory and modeling of lightwave systems
  • high-speed transmission using plastic fibers
  • dispersion compensation techniques
  • multilevel/phase shaped transmission
  • new usage transmission windows
  • nonguided optical communications

4. Network and switching

  • optical/hybrid/CATV access networks
  • network architectures and protocols
  • WDM applications in access and transport networks
  • OTDM networks
  • hybrid multiplexing strategies
  • management and administration of optical networks
  • all-optical signal processing
  • multigigabit networks
  • customer-premises networks
  • optical transparent networks
  • optical interconnect networks
  • photonic switching/fast-packet-switching architectures

In addition to the technical proceedings, attendees can also enjoy several social events. A welcome cocktail reception, hosted by Alcatel and France Telecom, will be held at the Acropolis Congress Center on Sunday at 6 p.m. On Monday at 7 p.m., the Mairie of Nice will host a reception at the convention site. Finally, a gala ECOC '99 dinner will be held in the Hotel Negresco on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner will be available at the welcome desk for 500 francs, on a first-come, first-served basis.

A technical visit is being organized for Friday, October 1, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sophia Antipolis International Science Park. More details can be obtained at the registration desk during the conference.

The registration desk will be open Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Conference fees entitle participants to attend conference sessions, enter the exhibitor areas, and receive the delegate bag containing conference proceedings and CD-ROM.

ElectroniCast Europe will present a photonics market briefing with a panel of high-profile speakers on September 26, 1999 at Nice, France. The seminar, entitled Optical Networking in Metropolitan Markets, will be held at the Grand Hotel Aston from 1 to 6:15 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception.

"The speed at which metropolitan optical networks are being constructed in Europe has accelerated over the past 12 months," says Jeremy Mills, conference director for ElectroniCast Europe. "Whether it's new competitive carriers aggressively fighting for new business or sleepy PTTs [postal, telegraph, and telephone companies] shaking off the shackles of government ownership and monopolistic regulation, the race is on to provide high-speed networks in and around Europe."

Analysts agree that within the next five years the market for metropolitan systems in Europe will rival that in North America. Yet despite the pace of development, many aspects of these new networks remain uncertain. How will bandwidth and traffic be managed on multiple wavelengths? Will networks remain "dumb," or will we see faster deployment of intelligent systems? What will be the impact of developments in tunable lasers, optical amplifiers, and photonic switching on the flexibility of the optical layer?

ElectroniCast's seminar plans to address these and other issues for chief executives, product and sales managers, technical directors, strategic marketing directors, marketing managers, and investors. The event is co-sponsored by Nortel Networks, Alcatel, Infineon Technologies (formerly Siemens Semiconductor Group), and Virtual Photonics Inc.

Presentations include the following:

  • IP over WDM-new business for city carriers. Jost Spielvogel, president, Transport Networks, Siemens.
  • Optical solutions in the metro area. Stephen Harbour, vice president of marketing, business and communications, Pirelli.
  • IP-optimized optical network. Daniel Eldar, product-line manager, optical internetworking, Cisco Systems.
  • Optical networks evolution--from backbone to metropolitan environment. Pedro Falcao, director of network research and development, Hermes Europe Railtel.
  • Dynamic optical amplifiers are driving the demand for new, "smarter" optical amplifier. James Regan, product-line manager for optical amplifiers, Nortel Networks.
  • High-speed colored sources for metropolitan application. Philippe Bregi, vice president for marketing, Alcatel Optronics.
  • What it takes for the metro-bandwidth-boom-visions around 10 gigabit. Holger Karstensen, head of development, Infineon Technologies.
  • Improving the design of metro networks and its system components by deploying photonic design automation tool. Dirk Seewald, vice president (Europe), Virtual Photonics.
Those interested in attending can find additional information on the conference at

ECOC '99 PROGRAM SCHEDULETh 0899 News Table1
The program at ECOC '99 in Nice, France, will feature short courses, workshops, and technical sessions.

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