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  • Demos, Debuts at OFC/NFOEC
Feb 2008
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 26, 2008 -- Demonstrations of breakthrough technologies and products by companies such as Lightwire, Finistar, Corning, and JDSU are attracting visitors today to the exposition at OFC/NFOEC 2008 in the San Diego Convention Center.

The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition and the National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC), the premier optical communications industry event, draws a wide array of attendees representing every sector of optical communications, from research and network design to manufacturing and systems integration, and most are drawn to the three-day exposition, Feb. 26-28, to see the live demonstrations and interactive displays of their latest products and technology provided by some of the more than 600 exhibiting companies.

Lightwire, an Allentown, Pa.-based startup formerly known as SiOptical, said it is introducing the first CMOS photonics-based 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ (small-form pluggable plus) LRM (long-reach multimode) optical module, the LSME10XX. The module is used to connect servers and network equipment wirelessly at distances of up to 220 m. The CMOS photonics technology has the ability to integrate light modulation circuitry into silicon, enabling CMOS fabrication techniques to be used to produce high-bandwidth optical components.

"These new optical modules represent a significant breakthrough for the industry on several fronts," said Lightwire CEO Vijay Albuquerque. "First of all, these are the first commercially available standards-compliant CMOS photonics products. Lightwire is the first to bring the widely publicized silicon photonics technology into the mainstream of communications solutions. Second, the superior operating characteristics made possible by CMOS photonics technology will enable Lightwire SFP+ products to break the power and density constraints now limiting widespread deployment of SFP+ modules in next-generation networking equipment. "

Albuquerque said Lightwire's CMOS photonics SFP+ modules use significantly less power, provide outstanding signal integrity and operate over a wider and more useful temperature range than SFP+ products currently on the market.

Lightwire is introducing the product with live demonstrations by invitation in the conference center's Room 26B.

Finistar Corp. (Booth 1521) of Sunnyvale, Calif., announced today it will have the first public demonstrations of three of its products at OFC/NFOEC: an 850-nm VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) for the emerging 16-Gb Fibre Channel standard, a 200-km 10 Gb/s DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) XFP (10-Gb small form factor pluggable) transceiver module based on its CML (chirp managed directly modulated laser) technology, and a 40-km SFP+ transceiver module.

Finisar said it will demonstrate a complete optical link utilizing a 17-Gb/s directly modulated VCSEL over multimode fiber. This VCSEL line rate is required to support the 16-G Fibre Channel payload, and will enable the next generation of Fibre Channel optical transceivers.

"There is a significant difference between achieving 17 G under controlled laboratory conditions and demonstrating a reliable implementation in a public environment such as OFC," said Joe Young, general manager of optics at Finisar. "This particular demonstration proves the viability of the optical components required to develop the 16-G Fibre Channel standard and positions Finisar as a key contributor to the standard's ongoing development."

The company said it has also made significant investments in 10-Gb/s networks and will demonstrate its latest advancements in other key technologies, including the first public demonstration of its fully MSA-compliant 10 Gb/s DWDM XFP transceiver module base on CML technology. The company said the transceiver transmits error-free over 200 km of single-mode fiber with power consumption under 3.5W and enables 50-GHz channel spacing for increased traffic-carrying capacity.

Finistar's SFP+ transceiver module enables error-free 10-GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) transmission over 40 km of single-mode fiber, the company said, with power consumption well below MSA requirements of 1.5 W. This enables the highest 10-Gb port densities for system vendors who have invested in next-generation SFP+ platforms and want to extend Ethernet into metro networks, the company said.

Corning Inc. (Booth 1327) of Corning, N.Y., and Infinera (Booth 4316, CC2, Career Center) of Sunnyvale, Calif., said they will make two demonstrations that incorporate Infinera's Raman amplification technology with Corning's optical fiber.

The first will show how long, unamplified optical reach enables carriers to significantly reduce amplification requirements and the expenses associated with building and maintaining amplifier huts. In the demonstration, Infinera's digital optical networks technology will transmit and receive data over 320 km of Corning SMF-28 ULL fiber to demonstrate extended network reach that can eliminate two or three amplification sites traditionally required in a network with 80- or 100-km spans. The long-reach capability results from the combined benefits of Infinera's Raman amplification and the ultralow attenuation of the Corning fiber.

Corning and Infinera will also demonstrate the benefits to carriers and service providers of using lower-cost dispersion compensation equipment. The Infinera DTN (a "digital" remotely configurable optical add/drop mux [ROADM]) will transmit over six 100-km spans of Corning Leaf fiber with no in-line dispersion compensation. Link dispersion compensation is achieved through a single dispersion compensation module and advanced electronic dispersion-compensation in the receiver terminal on the Infinera line card. Due to the optimized dispersion of Leaf fiber, in-line dispersion compensation is not required, the companies said.

"The addition of Raman technology to Infinera's digital optical networks solution will enable us to deliver longer reach and new applications, bringing the benefits of digital optical networks to a larger number of applications and more customers than ever before," said Steve Grubb, Infinera's director of optical systems.

With Raman amplification technology, the Infinera DTN can transmit over ultralong-haul distances of up to 1600 km, enabling cost-effective network designs in networks where very long spans are optimal, the company said. Last September, Infinera used Raman technology and electronic dispersion compensation to transmit a signal for 2000 km in its labs.
JDSU (Booths 2021, 3139) announced that it has created the smallest widely tunable transmitter optical subassembly (TOSA) for the DWDM transceiver market. The new TOSA bridges the gap for tunability and pluggability missing in previous tranceivers and provides a new pluggable solution to support 50-GHz spacing in metro networks, the company said.

The TOSA houses JDSU’s integrated laser Mach-Zehnder (ILMZ) chip that was announced in September. The ILMZ is a photonic integrated circuit that combines a tunable laser and optical modulator on a tiny chip for smaller, higher performance tunable solutions. JDSU produces the ILMZ using a semiconductor style of manufacturing that allows this functionally integrated optical solution to be produced in high volumes more quickly and efficiently, resulting in lower costs, the company said.

"JDSU's new TOSA is the first of its kind and an exciting step forward for the transceiver industry," said Alex Schoenfelder, vice president and general manager of Integrated Photonics at JDSU. "Our ability to leverage the expertise of JDSU’s in-house datacom and telecom teams provided a competitive advantage when it came to packing the most innovation possible into a dramatically smaller assembly."

TOSAs reside within optical transceivers -- the key interface to optical networks that convert electrical data to optical signals and back again as they travel through DWDM networks.

JDSU said the new TOSA package  will be available in transceiver products coming to the market later this year.

OFS (Booth 1835) of Norcross, Ga., said its new EZ-Bend technology for multiple dwelling unit and in-home wiring applications can improve fiber bending performance by up to 100 times to help avoid service disruptions and lower installation costs.

OFS said the demonstration shows a live video stream supported over optical cables using EZ-Bend technology bent around numerous corners and stapled, with no degradation in picture quality. In contrast, a conventional cable subjected to far less bending shuts down the video and "freezes" the screen, the company said. This is because EZ-Bend enables negligible video signal loss (0.1 dB maximum at 1550 nm) for one turn at 5-mm radius, while conventional fibers under the same assumption lose nearly all the signal.

OFS also said that its research and development arm, OFS Laboratories, will announce its research into advanced concepts for manipulating light using optical fibers in 18 papers being presented during the OFC/NFOEC technical conference.

"The recent developments can enable users to further reduce cost in optical networks while allowing more efficient transmission of data through fiber," said David DiGiovanni, president, OFS Laboratories. "We are at the vanguard of turning science into practical, real-world solutions, many that are ubiquitous in the industry today. It's no different with these published advances here at OFC/NFOEC."

The papers include R&D into the generation of radially-polarized beams for optical fibers, bend-insensitive fiber designs and amplifier technology innovations.

Researchers have worked for many years to create radially-polarized light since it has superior focusing and propagation characteristics compared to more conventional linear or random polarization. Of great interest currently is the fact that radially-polarized light has much stronger optical material interaction and can improve the quality of laser applications, such as cutting, welding or drilling. OFS researchers have found what they said is an elegant and simple way of converting the output of a conventional fiber device to radial polarization.

"This is expected to open a vast array of applications and new device opportunities," said DiGiovanni. "While OFS Labs is at the forefront of this research, I expect we'll see other groups duplicating and extending this work."

OFS Labs' paper on bend-insensitive fiber design strategies discusses cost-effective design techniques for reducing fiber loss and allowing fiber penetration deeper to the end user. OFS authors emphasize the fundamental understanding of the physics of bend loss, predictions of long-term reliability in highly-bent fiber, compatible splicing and connector technology, and the impact of bending on mode coupling and signal distortion. Furukawa Electric Co., OFS' parent company, is also showcasing several papers on bend-insensitive multimode fibers and fibers for optical interconnects.

The researchers will also present their amplifier technology innovations, such as the application of air-cladding technology in erbium-doped fiber to improve both bandwidth and efficiency for higher-power applications such as CATV, as well as improved Raman amplification to allow practical, increased reach of telecommunications networks.

Optoplex Corp. (Booth 2642), a Fremont, Calif.-based supplier of fiber-optic components, announced that its DQPSK (differential quadrature phase-shift keying) demodulator and QPSK (quadrature phase-shift keying) mixer, both designed for 100-Gb/s systems, has completed sample evaluations by the development groups of several telecom systems providers and it is working with key customers to provide the products.

While 40-Gb/s systems are slowing being implemented, major network operators are already evaluating and planning for the transition to 100-Gb/s equipment, probably in 2010, Optoplex said. Depending on the architecture, the DQPSK or the QPSK formats are leading candidates to be adapted by 100-Gb systems. Both devices are free-space optics- based phased interferometers and are extensions of Optoplex's DPSK demodulator platform.

3SAE Technologies (Booth 335) of Franklin, Tenn., announced it has developed the first three-phase plasma arc technology for fusion splicing, opening a new range of performance for specialty and large-diameter fiber splicing. Unlike a standard fusion splicer which uses two electrodes to produce heat to splice fiber up to about 500-µm in diameter, 3SAE's third-electrode design can uniformly surround and heat fiber up to 1 mm in diameter and lower optical losses of fibers with mismatched mode field diameters, the company said. Gains in splice strength are also possible when the three-phase plasma's highly stable heat source is used to perform post-splice annealing, called a "flame polish."

The third electrode, along with a three-phase driving circuit, produces a wide-area plasma field up to 100 times larger than that of a two-electrode system, the company said. The three-phase arc generates a triangular 2-D heating zone while a conventional two-electrode system produces a relatively narrow and single dimensional line of plasma for heat. Also, the power density in the three-phase arc system can be adjusted to achieve fiber temperatures ranging from less than 100 °C to more than 3000 °C. This dynamic range brings much-needed splicing versatility to specialty, large diameter, high strength and high-yield fiber applications and processes, 3SAE said.

"The thermal profile of the three-phase arc is far superior to any existing splicing technology," said Robert Wiley, vice president of engineering for 3SAE. "The elimination of the nonlinear heat transfer variables allows for a significantly more stable thermal profile than has ever been achieved before in plasma arc fusion splicing." The company currently has three patents pending on the new technology.

3SAE said it partnered with The Furukawa Electric Company Ltd. of Japan to incorporate the technology into a new Fitel S184 wide-area plasma slicer; 3SAE is demonstrating the slicer in Expo Hall Booth 335. The company is also presenting technical details of the technology in an OFC/NFOEC poster session.

NeoPhotonics (Booth 2339) of San Jose, Calif., a supplier of photonic integrated circuit (PIC) -based components, said it will debut a new high-power tunable laser for DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) networks that has an output power of 40 mW and other features ideal for DQPSK coding and 40-Gb/s systems.

The NTL2040 widely tunable laser can transmit at twice the output power of a standard ITLA (integrable tunable laser assembly). The external cavity design and output power of the NTL 2040 laser results in a narrow linewidth, low noise, high SMSR (side mode suppression ratios) and high 40-mW power and can replace any of the 120 single-wavelength lasers in the C+, L and XL bands, NeoPhotonics said. As a result, the NTL2040 laser enables 40-Gb/s transmission while also reducing the complexity and cost of systems design and lowering the cost of sparing and inventory.

The NTL2000 uses a continuous-wave (CW) external cavity laser delivering high spectral purity with low RIN, low SMSR and narrow linewidth. The output power is adjustable with standard outputs of 10 mW, 20 mW and 40 mW. It is suitable for most DWDM applications, including metro, long-haul and ultralong-haul, and data rates from 2.5 to 40 Gb, NeoPhotonics said. The laser has fast wavelength tuning to meet the standards for SONET/SDH and DWDM protection switching, dynamically reconfigurable networks and remote provisioning and testing.

"We believe that system vendors and carriers are moving rapidly to design and deploy 40-Gb/s DWDM systems," said Tim Jenks, chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics. "Due to its high output power, narrow linewidth, and low noise, we believe that our new NTL2040 tunable laser will allow these vendors to enjoy the benefits of wide, fast tunability in their 40 Gb/s applications."

Avago Technologies (Booth 2439, Hall D) of San Jose, Calif., said it is offering three live technology demonstrations of its latest developments in 40-Gb, 17-Gb and 100-Gb high-speed data throughput. The 40-Gb throughput is based on QSFP (quad small-form-factor pluggable) architecture using the company's Z-axis pluggable technology. The 100-Gb performance uses Avago's internal 10-Gb VCSEL array and integrated circuits; link aggregation to its SFP+ will also be demonstrated with live data traffic through Arastra's 7124S, 24-port 10-GbE switch. The 17-F Fibre Channel demonstration will use Avago's internal VCSEL and embedded SERDES (serializer/deserializer) technologies to double current data speeds.

Dallas-based Menara Networks (Booth 412) said it is announcing a transceiver breakthrough -- the industry's first pluggable optical transceivers with integrated DWDM, OTN and FEC capabilities for IP and Ethernet transport. Menara said its technology offers and enhances all the functions found in traditional transport systems in a small- form-factor pluggable transceiver, which translates into a significant reduction in network cost, simplified network engineering rules and faster service velocity for service providers.

Micron Optics (Booth 1744) of Atlanta said it is announcing enhanced capabilities of its tunable filter product line. The company's Fabry-Perot tunable filter, the FFP-TF2, features improved bandwidth variation and now includes a version with a high-finesse value (16,000 now available) and one equipped with PM (polarization maintaining) fiber. 

OFC/NFOEC is managed by the Optical Society of America (OSA) and co-sponsored by OSA, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Communications Society (IEEE/ComSoc) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (IEEE/LEOS).

For more information, visit:


Visit at OFC/NFOEC Feb. 26-28 at Booth 3700

optical fiber
A thin filament of drawn or extruded glass or plastic having a central core and a cladding of lower index material to promote total internal reflection (TIR). It may be used singly to transmit pulsed optical signals (communications fiber) or in bundles to transmit light or images.  
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
A gas made up of electrons and ions.
A permanent joint whose purpose is to couple optical power among two or more ports. Also, a device whose purpose is to couple optical power between a waveguide and a source or detector.
An instrument or system capable of both transmitting and receiving a signal.
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