Record number of attendees expected for OFC/IOOC 99

Record number of attendees expected for OFC/IOOC `99

By ROBERT PEASE

The 1999 Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC), collocated with the International Conference on Integrated Optics and Optical Fiber Communication (IOOC), will showcase the very latest advances in optical communications technology February 21 to 26 at the San Diego Convention Center.

This year`s program promises to cover optical networks and amplifiers to broadband lasers and detectors--and everything in between. More than 600 papers were submitted this year, up 20% from last year`s OFC `98. Papers were received from all over the globe, including such countries as Denmark, China, Brazil, Australia, and Portugal.

Last year`s show was attended by more than 8400 people, who were offered 400-plus technical presentations and information from more than 300 exhibitors. "Based on paper submissions and hotel reservations," says Kenneth L. Walker of Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, and co-chair of this year`s technical program, "we are expecting strong growth in the conference again this year."

Each year, this major North American conference provides a forum for identifying trends and highlighting the latest breakthroughs in new optical communications initiatives and technological advances. Last year, a significant emphasis was placed on wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) technology, and that`s expected to be a focal point again this year. There are also other technologies that have garnered attention throughout the telecommunications industry this year.

"We expect to see substantial emphasis in the area of 40-Gbit/sec speed," says Walker. "The vision of an all-optical transparent network was proposed a few years ago. At the time, it seemed impractical to many. However, there are a number of papers reporting substantial progress towards making this vision a reality in the future."

Registration will begin on Saturday evening, February 20, and continue through Friday, February 26. Full registration includes admission to all technical sessions, workshops, exhibits, a reception (Tuesday evening), coffee breaks, and the poster session (Wednesday afternoon). Full registration also includes the OFC/IOOC `99 Technical Digest set and a copy of the conference tutorial book. Registrations are also available for one-day admission to that day`s technical sessions, exhibits, and coffee breaks. One-day registration does not include publications or admission to the conference reception. Conference reception tickets for guests and one-day registrants may be purchased for $35 per person.

Workshops

Several pre-conference workshops will be held on Sunday and Monday, February 21 and 22, at the San Diego Convention Center (see Table). Workshops are included in the full registration, but others who are interested in attending may do so for $35.

Attendees can choose from four workshops on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Guifang Li and Peter Delfyett from the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers, University of Central Florida, will conduct the first workshop. It will be a forum to discuss how to balance research and education activities in the area of optical communications in academia.

The second workshop will evaluate the transmission effects of polarization-mode dispersion in various analog and digital systems, and explore methods for mitigating these effects. Fred Heismann from Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies; John Nagel from AT&T Labs-Research; and Reinhard Ulrich from the Technische Universitaet Hamburg-Harburg, Germany, will jointly conduct this workshop.

Kenneth L. Walker of Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, and Bertrand Desthieux of Alcatel Alsthom Recherche, France, will jointly conduct the third workshop. This workshop will investigate amplifier options for using the full 50-THz bandwidth of optical fibers. It will include fibers doped with erbium or other rare earth dopants in silica or non-silica hosts, Raman amplifiers, and semiconductor amplifiers.

The fourth Sunday session will focus on what needs to be delivered to network operators to support emerging optical networking applications in both backbone and metropolitan areas. This session is organized by John Fee, Avanex Corp., and Christoph Pfistner, Advanced Fibre Communications. The presentations were solicited from global system and equipment providers and network operators.

On Monday, a workshop will be conducted by Curtis R. Menyuk, University of Maryland--Baltimore County, and Alan E. Willner, University of Southern California. This workshop will be divided into two sessions, a panel discussion and tabletop demonstrations, to delve into the growing need for user-friendly simulation tools and graphical user interfaces. A number of simulation tools have been developed by research and development groups around the world, ranging from modeling the characteristics of individual devices to predicting the performance of complete transmission systems.

Plenary session

The conference officially kicks off Tuesday with the plenary session from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Rooms 6 A&B. This year`s keynote speakers are John W. Sidgmore, representing an Internet provider, and Neil Tagare, representing a global-scale undersea fiber-optic network.

Sidgmore is chief executive of UUNET/WorldCom, an Internet access provider with annual revenues in excess of $300 million. Working in the telecommunications industry for many years, he was recently the keynote speaker at NetWorld+Interop. Sidgmore will speak about the exciting opportunities in a rapidly deregulating world as the Internet grows, and will discuss how to scale to meet this unprecedented demand.

Tagare is president of the New Jersey-based CTR Group, which is constructing Project Oxygen, a $10-billion fiber-optic network project intended to link every continent except Antarctica. Project Oxygen is slated for completion in 2003. Tagare was also the person behind the 15,000-mi Fiber-optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG), a privately funded submarine network led by Nynex Corp. Tagare will speak on the worldwide data and Internet explosion. He will also provide updates on how the world is coping with it and provide a glimpse into the future of large-capacity transcontinental networks.

The 12th John Tyndall Award will also be presented during the plenary session. This year`s recipient is John MacChesney, Lucent Technologies, "for the invention and development of the MCVD process, which is one of the major techniques for the manufacture of low-loss optical fibers and for high-purity overcladding tubes using sol-gel techniques." The award will be on display in the exhibit hall.

Commercial technology program

OFC `99 will offer its unique Commercial Technology sessions designed to help businesses and end-users get an edge on the competition. These sessions tackle complex and fast-developing business issues in the fiber industry. The sessions are in two flavors, technology showcases and development sessions. Each technology showcase includes short presentations by industry experts on various techniques and applications, followed by a panel discussion. The development sessions provide insights into starting or owning a high-tech business and feature top financial and law practitioners. All commercial technology sessions will be held in Rooms 17 A&B.

Technology Showcase I, "Optical Switching Technology and its Applications," is on Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Moderated by Albert White of Sprint PCS, this program is a discussion of the current state of the art in optical switching technology. Technical Showcase II, "DWDM Technology and its Applications," is on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This session will discuss the functions and features available in commercial DWDM systems to meet the metropolitan, wide-area, and long-distance network needs for field deployment. Kamal Goel from SBC, will moderate this session which will include addresses from DWDM suppliers, presentations, and panel discussion.

The first development session, "How To Start A Business," organized by Milton Change, New Focus, will be on Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Speakers will discuss their ideas for securing capital and achieving success, as well as their views on the current funding environment. This session will provide straight talk and thorough answers on how to succeed in the telecommunications business. The second development session, "Intellectual Property Law Basics," will be on Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., moderated by Joseph E. Gortych, Esq. of Downs, Rachlin & Martin PLLC. This presentation is designed to provide an overview of intellectual property law, with a focus on patents. Topics covered include the various forms of intellectual property and how each is legally protected, employer/employee issues, working with attorneys, confidentiality/nondisclosure agreements, technology and patent licensing, and developing an intellectual property strategy.

Technical program

The OFC/IOOC `99 technical program will focus on both theoretical and practical solutions to current capacity demand issues. Besides the all-optical network focus, another leading program topic will be the ever-popular WDM and dense WDM, the primary focus of last year`s conference in San Jose. Conference officials say there is an "overall increase in the number of low-cost WDM components with more variety and functionality than in previous years, and research is focusing on how to get the most out of fiber by using more bandwidth, amplifier bands, and channels for capacity." WDM`s emergence into the metropolitan and regional access networks, progress toward achieving 40-Gbit/sec transmission in field experiments, and the use of pulse formation and dispersion management to solve the problem of fiber impairments are all expected to be among this year`s hottest topics.

The invited oral and poster presentations represent the leading edge of research and technology in a fast-moving fiber-optic field. The technical program, consisting of more than 280 invited papers, is divided into five categories and subcommittees:

I. Fibers, Cables and Fiber-Based Devices

II. Optoelectronic and Integrated Optics

III. System Technologies

IV. Networks, Switching and Access

V. Applications

In each category, industry experts will address fundamental research, landmark advances, and significant issues in manufacturing, reliability, and commercial technology related to each specific topic.

The Category I subcommittee, chaired by Bruce Nyman, JDS Fitel, focuses on fiber-related topics such as fiber-based networking equipment, light sources, cable design and performance, and fiber-optic technologies. Key papers in this area address technologies such as a tunable optical parametric oscillator and ultra-broadband optical amplifiers.

Category II focuses on optoelectronic and integrated optics devices such as optical interconnects, device testing and reliability, and semiconductor sources, detectors, and modulators. Chung-En Zah of Corning Inc. chairs this subcommittee. Paper topics include recent progress in high-power laser diodes for EDFA pumping and semiconductor integrated optical devices for photonic networks.

The Category III subcommittee is chaired by Robert W. Tkach, AT&T Labs--Research, and deals with transmission-related aspects of optical systems. Topics include WDM transmission systems, new fiber-optic applications, and high-speed transmission systems. Some of the papers that will be presented include global undersea networks and the feasibility of 1-Tbit/sec (25 channels ¥ 40 Gbits/sec) global-distance, optically regenerated systems.

Rick Barry, Sycamore Networks, chairs the Category IV subcommittee, which focuses on optical networks and the networking aspect of the constituent elements and systems. Key topics include network architectures and performance, protection and restoration, optical access networks, and multiple protocols. Papers include a new all-fiber bidirectional optical crossconnect with tunable fiber Bragg gratings and hierarchical restoration in a backbone network.

Finally, Category V deals with issues important to the successful mass commercial deployment, field trial, business planning, and applications of optical fiber communications technology in public and private/premise networks. Key issues include network planning and design, system installation and testing, network-management architectures, and system reliability and availability. Chaired by Fahri Diner, Qtera Corp., this category will include papers on wireline and wireless access networks, passive optical networking issues, and field testing WDM deployment.

Tutorials and symposiums

One-hour tutorials will be held throughout the day on Tuesday through Friday in Room 1A. These presentations cover a variety of subjects and are conducted by many experts in the industry. Topics slated for Tuesday are "Silicon Micromachines for Lightwave Networks," "Hybrid Fiber/Coax System and Network Technologies," and "Polarization and Chromatic Dispersion Compensation." Wednesday`s tutorials will cover "WDM System Impairments" and "NRZ, RZ, or Solitons: Modulation Format, Your Choice or the Fiber`s?" On Thursday, four tutorials will be presented on "Components for Next-Generation High-Speed LAN," "Fundamental Limitations of EDFAs in Amplified Transmission Systems," "Raman and Cladding-Pumped Fiber Amplifiers and Lasers," and "High-Capacity Optical Transmission System Design." Finally, Friday will offer one tutorial called "Protection and Restoration in Optical Networks."

Spattered throughout the technical program sessions will be symposiums on high-interest topics conducted by experts in the field. Subjects include "Undersea Systems" (Tuesday, 11:00 a.m., Room 6C); "Optical Crossconnects" (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., Room 6B and 1:30 p.m., Room 6C); and "Large Optical Networking Programs" (Thursday, 1:30 p.m., Room 6D). q

WDM event to highlight technology trends

ElectroniCast Corp., a San Mateo, CA, telecommunications market forecast company, is presenting San Diego `99 Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) Trends on Sunday, February 21, 1999, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Diego.

Top representatives from major players in the optical fiber amplifier and dense WDM components and systems industries will discuss the market and technology trends. ElectroniCast will present an analysis of industry trends through 2008.

"This annual event is organized to provide industry executives with information on global market size and growth trends," says Steven Montgomery, president of ElectroniCast. "Individual presentations and panel discussions will cover component and system trends."

Two panel sessions will be held, the first from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and the second from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. According to Montgomery, last year`s sessions sold out and 1999 may follow suit.

Speakers and presenters will include Chris Clarke, senior products manager, Nortel Networks; Kevin Affolter, products manager, Nortel Networks; Jocelyn Lauzon, photonics and guided optics, Institut National D`Optique; Steve Storozum, vice president of sales and marketing, Video Products Group Inc.; John Adler, senior director of product management, Monterey Networks Inc.; Andrew Schmitt, telecom marketing engineer, Vitesse Semiconductor Corp.; and Jeff D. Montgomery, chairman, ElectroniCast.

Speakers were also invited from JDS Fitel, APA Optics, and Applied Fiber Optics. The event is sponsored by Nortel Networks, JDS Fitel, and Lightwave. For reservations, contact ElectroniCast at (650) 343-1398 or fax (650) 343-1698. --Robert Pease

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