The dog days of optics


August in the Northern Hemisphere can be a languid month, with little in the way of business being accomplished while the summer sun lulls overactive minds. The optical networking business itself is languishing a bit as carrier debt is worked off and component inventories are worked down. Yet it turns out that this slower pace is an excellent opportunity to plan ahead, develop new products, and work on improving productivity.

Conveniently, we have several articles on that subject in this issue. Manufacturers' performance specifications, for example, serve as a guide to designers when selecting among similar products from different companies. In the case of arrayed waveguide gratings, the specs may not describe the same characteristics. Vivek Tandon and his colleagues at Kymata propose some common guidelines in our first feature. For more nuts-and-bolts information, Kamran Mobarhan at Newport and Craig Marley and Mark Rodighiero at Unitek Miyachi take on automated fiber alignment and package welding issues in separate articles.

On an unrelated subject, I found the article by Jim Sirkis and Alan Kersey at CiDRA particularly interesting because monitoring optical network performance is of increasing importance and yet not well understood. The authors describe how optical channel monitors, optical channel analyzers, and bit-error-rate testers enable service providers to make sense of the spectral behavior of each WDM channel in a network. As networks become more complex and dynamic, monitoring becomes an ever-more critical function.

Alone, at last
If you've been monitoring the progress of WDM Solutions, you'll know that the next issue in September issue will be our first to mail separately from Laser Focus World. As a result, you'll need to fill out a new subscription form — in this issue or on our website — if you want to receive WDM Solutions in the future. I hope you will.

Finally, by way of celebrating our new status, I should mention that we've won two editorial awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. First, WDM Solutions won the Gold Award, East Region, for editorial excellence in a supplement. And then at a dinner in Boston, we took the National Silver Award for the same category. It's been a team effort all the way!

W. Conard Holton
Associate Publisher/Editor in Chief

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