Spring forwards...don't fall back

Birthdays mean more when you're younger, apparently. So you won't be surprised to learn that Lightwave Europe's first birthday — this month — means a great deal to us, as we feel sure it does to the wider industry. However, there is a lot more to do than simply to get older or get by. We are aiming not only to continue giving our readers the news as it happens but also a a sense of what's to come.

Spring has sprung. Well it has if, like me, you live in the northern hemisphere. But wherever you live this season means that it's time for OFC.(in Atlanta, this year) and CeBIT, which, as usual, is in Hanover Lightwave, Lightwave Europe, and our sister optical communications titles will be there to attend the conferences and meet the people. In this issue you can find a taster of some of the key launches (pp20-25).

Talking of conferences, I attended last month's busy MPLS.congress in Paris, which brought together not only 13 network equipment vendors demonstrating interoperability and scalability, but also scores, maybe hundreds, of paying delegates — in 2003! MPLS and its versatile sister GMPLS offer ingenious ways to encapsulate and carry voice and data traffic of different protocols through diverse types of network architecture, creating for users the illusion of virtual private local area networks. The Paris interoperability and scalability tests also verified MPLS Fast Reroute techniques, showing typical services on such a network.

"The scalability achieved during MPLS VPN testing was representative of real network deployments, while using edge devices from different manufacturers," said Ananda Sen Gupta, Chair of the Interoperability Committee, MPLS Forum, and Business Development Manager, Asia-Pacific, Agilent Technologies. "This event established that MPLS is right for service provider deployments today. It supports new revenue-generating services as well as legacy services in a scalable fashion — and with service quality guarantees."

These days you might feel that you cannot buy even a few metres of bog standard multimode fibre, never mind sell sophisticated telecoms services, without signing up to half a dozen "service level agreements". But according to a recent Yankee Group report many of us in old Europe are none too impressed by SLAs (see news p8). "It's little wonder that users remain uncertain about the value of SLAs when service providers often fail to meet guaranteed target levels," says Yankee in its Service-Level Agreements: Real Benefits or Empty Promises?

How about those old legacy systems that won't behave how they're supposed to, either? If only all the service providers would start all over again with a load of new stuff that all matched up and delivered fault-free 40G! Most networks, which have been developed from SDH/SONET rings and point-to-point DWDM systems, suffer from inefficiencies that exist between the different transport and switching aspects of the network. But Stephan Rettenberger from Marconi Communications Ondata believes improvements can be achieved by introducing scalable next generation grooming switches with integrated DWDM optics. Read how the "hybrid approach" will enable carriers to offer new grades of service centred around mesh-based network structures on p17. Whatever next? 100G optical switching? Yes, on p19.

Matthew Peach Editor in Chief, Lightwave Europe
matthewp@pennwell.com

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