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OFC: Industry Looks Ahead
Apr 2009
SAN DIEGO, April 1, 2009 -- The OFC/NFOEC 2009 exposition rolled through town last week. With nearly 9500 attendees and 550 participating companies, the show played host to a broad swath of today's telecommunications industry.

Not surprisingly, the exposition was abuzz with talk about 40-Gb/s transmission, intended to address rising demand for bandwidth due largely to consolidation of data centers and the popularity of YouTube and online delivery of content generally.

Despite concerns about the spiraling economy, said Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst with Infonetics Research, at an exhibitor appreciation breakfast on Thursday, 40 Gb/s is "here to stay."
The OFC/NFOEC 2009 exhibit floor. Attendance at the show was down about 20 percent from 2008. (Photo: Gary Boas)
Indeed, the industry is already looking ahead to 100-Gb/s transmission. At a press luncheon on Tuesday, Philippe Morin, president of Metro Ethernet Networks, said that 100 Gb/s is a "done deal" and that it will deploy in 2009.

Howard noted two significant hurdles to implementing it on a large scale: (1) get the technology working, and (2) get it working at the right price. But if these are addressed, he said, 2012 may be the year for 100 Gb/s, much like 2009 is the year for 40 Gb/s.

The real trick with both 40 and 100 Gb/s, he concluded, is getting them to run on 10 Gb/s fiber, so carriers don't have to redesign their networks.

On the floor, many exhibitors were showing and talking about 40-Gb/s technologies that will help pull this off. And while the crowds were noticeably thinner than in previous years – attendance was down by about 2500 (about 20 percent) from 2008 – many at the show had come specifically to see these next-generation products.

Exhibitors reported fully booked meeting rooms for the duration of the show and extensive conversations with customers hoping to implement the products.

OFC/NFOEC returns to San Diego March 21-25, 2010.

Gary Boas
contributing editor, Photonics Spectra

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...
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