iooc/ecoc 97 draws international audience

Sept. 1, 1997

iooc/ecoc `97 draws international audience

By STEPHEN HARDY

Some industry wags say you can judge the health of an industry by how many trade shows it generates. While the fiber-optics community in the United States can boast at least two major annual events--the Optical Society of America`s Conference on Optical Fiber Communication (ofc), most recently held in February 1997, and the upcoming National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference, which will run September 21 to 25 in Anaheim, CA--the European market is not far behind. A visit to the International Conference on Integrated Optics and Optical Fibre Communications (iooc) and the concurrent European Conference on Optical Communications (ecoc) and European Exhibition on Optical Communications (eeoc) promises to enlighten anyone who doubts the vibrancy of fiber on the eastern side of the Atlantic.

The concurrent conferences will take place Sep- tember 22 to 25 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in Scotland. This year marks the eleventh iooc and the twenty-third ecoc. Sponsored by the Institution of Electrical Engineers, the two gatherings have established themselves as Europe`s primary combined technical conference event. "It is the only rival to ofc," says Roger Harley, sales manager at Integrated Optical Components Ltd., Witham, Essex, UK, whose company will attend. The conferences attract presentations from North America and the Far East as well as Europe, Harley adds.

This year`s presentations will cover the spectrum of fiber-optic topics, such as fibers, cables, and optical components; optoelectronics and integrated optics devices; systems technologies; and networks and switching. Plenary speakers, including Peter Cochrane of British Telecom (see Lightwave, May 1997, page 4), will supplement these presentations, as will tutorials and short courses. In addition, the Fourth International Workshop on Optical Networking Multiwavelength Access Networks will be held Sunday, September 21.

While it does not enjoy the longevity of its technical brethren, the eeoc has quickly established a strong identity. As of press time, nearly 100 companies had committed to sending representatives to the show. In another parallel to ofc, wavelength-division multiplexing (wdm) is expected to dominate the exhibit area. For example, Bookham Technologies Ltd., Chilton, Oxfordshire, UK, will extend the transceiver product line it introduced at ofc to include a pair of singlemode, dual-wavelength, full-duplex optical transceivers. The transceivers feature the company`s Active Silicon Integrated Optical Circuits (asoc) technology, which produces integrated optical components in which silicon is used to pass photons, rather than electrons. The asoc packaging enables passive alignment of the laser diode and the fiber in such a way that mass production of these components is efficient and economical.

The bkm-2400 product series is designed for access network applications in which the desire for commodity pricing and production play to asoc`s strengths, according to Robin Morris, Bookham`s director of access network products. The new transceivers enable bidirectional transmission over the same fiber; the bkm-2401 will transmit at 1300 nm and receive at 1550 nm, while the bkm-2402 will transmit at 1550 nm and receive at 1300 nm.

The units will operate at 155-Mbit/sec OC-3 speeds. "Certainly on the transmit side, at the customer end, we don`t see a pressing demand to go much above that for a while, although obviously the technology is capable of going significantly beyond that," says Morris.

Meanwhile, Integrated Optical Components Ltd. will provide a live demonstration of its 4-channel wdm capabilities at 2.5 and 10 Gbits/sec. The demonstration will highlight the company`s new modulator, which uses an integral attenuator to equalize power over each of the wdm channels. The modulator will be effective in 32-channel wdm applications, according to Harley.

Not everyone will focus on wdm, however. Hewlett-Packard`s UK-based Fibre Optic Business Unit will unveil a portfolio of 20-pin transmitter and receiver modules as well as an uncooled dual-feedback laser available in a coaxial-cable package. The modules are Bellcore-compliant and provide improved electromagnetic interference/electromagnetic compatibility performance at what the company terms "significant cost advantages." The modules cover the 155- to 622-Mbit/sec range and include receivers with and without clock and data recovery. The temperature range is -40° to +85°C, and both intermediate and long-reach units are available.

The new 1300-nm dual-feedback transmitter product comes in a coaxial-cable package aimed at digital-communications applications, particularly those involving long-distance communications at rates up to Synchronous Optical Network OC-12 (622 Mbits/sec) or the equivalent Synchronous Digital Hierarchy stm-4. Fiber-in-the-loop and digital cable-TV applications could benefit from the laser as well.

Hewlett-Packard also will demonstrate a surface-mount laser and pin diode with detachable pigtail. The unit, now in development, uses an 8-pin dual-inline surface-mount configuration. The product range is expected to target 155- and 622-Mbit/sec applications.

Also at the component and subsystem end of the technology, the company Akzo Nobel, Arnhem, The Netherlands, will highlight its BeamBox solid-state optical switches, which recently passed what a company source called "an extensive design verification and reliability assurance program." The company will debut an optical-switch product based on its BeamBox planar waveguide technology. The device features an array of up to four 1 ¥ 2 or eight 2 ¥ 2 switches in one small package. Each of the switches in the array can be addressed individually, making the arrays applicable to flexible wavelength add/drop multiplexing applications. o

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