supercomm 97 pavilion covers fiber

May 1, 1997

supercomm `97 pavilion covers fiber

stephen hardy

Attendees looking for the latest in fiber developments at supercomm `97 in New Orleans, LA, June 1 to 5, 1997 will likely discover their favorite technology represented in much same way it appears in the field--buried. With such disparate organizations as the International Communications Association, International Engineering Consortium, ieee Computer Society, MultiMedia Telecommunications Association, Telecommunications Industry Association, and Standards Committee T1 all holding conferences under the same roof at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, fiber`s low visibility hardly represents a surprise. Yet the fact that fiber is not the focal point of the show doesn`t mean it can`t be found. You just have to know where to look.

Most of the fiber-based action at supercomm `97 will take place in the exhibit area, where dozens of companies in the field will display their wares. The Fiber Optics Pavilion will form the center of this exhibit activity. Sponsored by this publication and Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine, the pavilion will occupy 5400 square feet of floor space between aisles 600 and 900 (see figure). The pavilion will feature information and offerings from 25 companies in the areas of broadband communications, laser and light-emitting diode reliability, fiber-optic cable, network management, interoperability, synchronous optical networks, and related technologies. Fiber companies inside and outside the pavilion also will display a wealth of new products (see "supercomm `97 Product Showcase" on page 65 of this issue). The exhibit hall will be open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday, June 3, and Wednesday, June 4, and from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Thursday, June 5.

Few of the seminars, tutorials, and workshops offered by the concurrent conferences will target fiber specifically. Nevertheless, those arriving early in New Orleans can attend an all-day Sunday tutorial titled "Is Sonet for Carriers Only?" Sponsored by the International Communications Association, this tutorial (number T605) will run from 9:15 AM to 4:30 PM. Monday, June 2, will see a panel discussion on "Building a Voice and Data Network in Latin America" from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM. The presentation will focus on Mexico and offers a good bet for those interested in fiber applications, as companies have made a significant investment in fiber-optic backbones as a prelude to offering competitive telecommunications services in that country.

Main fiber events

But Wednesday, June 4, promises to be the big day for fiber discussions. The morning will start with the supercomm `97 Plenary Panel, "Turning Points in Information Technology," from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM. The panel will include Casimir S. Skrzypczak, president, nynex Science and Technology (chair); Thomas A. Beaver, corporate vice president and assistant director, Motorola; John Black, senior vice president-telecommunications, Oracle Corp.; Fred M. Briggs, chief engineering officer, mci; Gerald J. Butters, president-North America, Lucent Technologies Network Systems; and Michael W. Reene, vice president-telecommunications and media, ibm. Show officials promise a discussion of "anticipated revolutionary changes" in telecommunications, one of which is the large bandwidth that can reach the home via advanced switched digital video and hybrid fiber/coaxial-cable technologies.

Attendees interested in fiber will likely move next to session W47E, "Enabling Technologies for the All-Optical Network," part of the Fiber, Broadband, Network, and Operations "institute" of the International Engineering Consortium`s Communications Forum Seminar Program. Chaired by Mike Day, senior director of product planning at Alcatel Network Systems, and Ian White, technical manager at Lucent Technologies, this group of presentations will run from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM. Papers will include "Fiber for the Future" by Brad Kummer, technical manager, optical-fiber systems engineering, Lucent Technologies; "wdm Optical Layer Key Technologies and Systems Demonstrations" by Herve Fevrier, deputy to the vice president and general manager, Alcatel Network Systems; and "Network Applications for Optical Crossconnects" by A. Hadjiforiou, manager, advanced optical networks, Nortel.

"Evolution of the Backbone Network," session W58F of the same institute, could provide clues to the future of fiber in the networks of some of the major telecommunications service providers. Held from 2:15 PM to 3:45 PM and chaired by Serge Melle, marketing manager of Nortel, this series of presentations will include perspectives from WorldCom`s director of transmission engineering, Larry Murphy ("WorldCom High-Capacity Backbone Network"), at&t`s division manager of network planning, Larry Russell ("at&t Backbone Network Evolution"), and mci`s vice president of network technology and architecture, Jack Wimmer ("mci Future Network Evolution").

Visitors looking for more-general information will have a variety of sessions at their disposal. supercomm and Phillips Business Information will present the Global Telecom Market Forum, which promises a look into the future of telecommunications equipment and service demands worldwide. The MultiMedia Telecommunication Association will launch its first annual conference, which will highlight some of the services that future fiber networks might carry. Of course, the International Communications Association will hold its annual SuperConference, while the ieee Computing Society will offer its inaugural Internet Computing Conference. The aforementioned International Engineering Consortium Communications Forum Seminar Program will range far beyond fiber optics as well. A Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program will be held on June 2.

The Telecommunications Industry Association and the United States Telephone Association will once again serve as cosponsors of the show. Last year`s show drew approximately 38,000 attendees, and the show organizers expect at least that many in New Orleans. How many of these will be searching for fiber--and the number who will find what they`re seeking--remains to be seen. q

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