nfoec program reflects present realities, future trends

Aug. 1, 1998

nfoec program reflects present realities, future trends

By STEPHEN HARDY

If anyone has somehow remained unaware of the impact of wavelength-division multiplexing (wdm) on fiber-optic network design--or questioned how seriously the regional Bell operating companies (rbocs) are considering the technology for their applications--next month`s 14th Annual National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (nfoec) should prove enlightening. Annually sponsored by Bellcore and one of the rbocs, the show has frequently been used as a barometer of the technological pressure points in local and regional networking. The technical program for the 1998 edition of the show--to be held at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, FL, September 13 to 17--shows no fewer than eight sessions devoted to wdm, plus a workshop on the technology slated for the show`s opening day. The conference program also will provide attendees with glimpses of other forms of optical networking as preparation for the day that transmission at the optical layer becomes widespread.

As in previous years, the show opens on a Sunday with a workshop and reception; proceeds to invited papers, keynote addresses, and the opening of the exhibit floor on Monday; and provides a technical program and vendor exhibits on Tuesday and Wednesday. The final day will see the conclusion of the technical agenda (see table).

Bellcore and its rboc partner for 1998, BellSouth, will stress wdm technology in a variety of forms throughout the event. In addition to the wdm workshop on Sunday, Tuesday`s technical sessions will include "Transmitters for tdm and wdm," "dwdm Overview," and "dwdm Systems." Wednesday will feature sessions on "Optical Multiplexers/Demultiplexers," "dwdm Systems/Optical Networking," "dwdm and ones," and a "dwdm Panel." Thursday`s wrap-up sessions include "oadms" and "sonet/wdm."

The wdm sessions lay the foundation for the conference`s treatment of the future evolution of fiber-optic networks. Indeed, the two "Optical Networking" sessions on Thursday promise to include discussion of wdm as well. Meanwhile, Tuesday`s "Reliability and Protection" session covers the benefits of transmission at the optical layer and how these benefits might be realized.

With a further eye toward the future, the conference program also promises attendees the opportunity to debate how to adapt existing and future networks to the imminent domination of data traffic. Presentations on this topic include "High-Speed atm Leased Line Service Delivery for Large Business Users via a Multipoint Passive Optical Network" on Tuesday; "IP over sonet versus atm over sonet in Tomorrow`s Networking Environment," "An Implementer`s Guide to Hybrid atm/stm Transport Networks," and "Ultra-High Speed Communications and Data Links Using a Hybrid wdm-tdm Physical Layer" on Wednesday; and "Fiber-based atm Virtual Path Rings for Distance Learning Networks: A Better Infrastructure Model" and "Effects of Data and New Access Technologies on Optical Access Networks" on Thursday.

Of course, most of these new technologies and architectures will be implemented in the context of current Synchronous Optical Network (sonet) infrastructures. In recognition of this fact, attendees will have their choice of "sonet" and "sonet and atm" on Wednesday and "Ring Architecture," "Ring Applications," and the aforementioned "sonet/wdm" on Thursday.

While most of these sessions and presentations focus on the system and networking levels, others will cover fiber-optic disciplines at the component level. These include "Optical Fiber" and "Fiber and Ribbon" on Tuesday; "Cable Design" and "Cable Properties" on Wednesday; and "Closures and Splices" and "Connectors and Optical Switches" on Thursday. Meanwhile, sessions such as "Local Distribution," "Local Distribution/Outside Plant," "Optical Testing," and "Network Administration and Management" will cover topics near to the everyday work environment of service providers in the local market.

Most of the presentations reflect the North American focus of the show, with most of the presenters coming from U.S. service providers (mainly rbocs) or the companies attempting to serve their needs. However, two papers from European carriers--Tuesday`s "The Technical Issues in the Selection and Deployment of wdm Systems in a Pan-European Carrier`s Carrier Network" from Hermes Europe Railtel and Thursday`s "Performance of an All-Optical Wavelength-Translation Crossconnect in a wdm Transport Cross-Border Field Trial" from representatives of Alcatel Corporate Research Center, Tele Danmark R&D, and Telenor R&D--and one from Asia--Tuesday`s "Outside Plant Engineering Issues for fttc Access Networks in Korea" by the Access Network Research Laboratory of Korea Telecom--will bring an international perspective.

The nfoec `98 Committee includes John Spencer and Malcolm Threlkeld of BellSouth and Felix Kapron and John Varachi of Bellcore. BellSouth`s Vernon R. Jackson is this year`s conference coordinator. Lightwave is the show`s official publication. q

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