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OFC 2002 Attendance Exceeds Expectations
Mar 2002
ANAHEIM, Calif. - An estimated 32,000 are attending OFC 2002 as of Tuesday, according to OFC management. That's slightly less than last year's 38,000, a reflection of the contraction in the optics industry and the economic effects of Sept. 11 events, OFC said.
   "Attendance is actually way above what we estimated," said an OFC staffer. "We expected 25,000 to -30,000 this year -- and that's not even counting Wednesday and Thursday."
   OFC said attendees to the annual event are especially attracted to its strong technical programs, many of which offer new records and standards never before achieved in the optical fiber industry -- for example, among this year's sessions are "High-Capacity Transmission" by Mitsubishi Japan, focusing on the highest transmission rate to date over long distances, stimulating the feasibility of high-bandwidth transoceanic fiber optic trunk lines. Researchers achieved what they say is a transoceanic class transmission rate record of 1.3 Tb/s over 8.400 km on a single fiber.
   A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way to reconcile all-optical switching without getting rid of the current electronic routers that make up the backbone of most wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) long haul networks. They presented their findings today at a session titled "Optical Packet Switching." The researchers believe that their concept of optical flow switching, which uses less expensive optical switches at electronic router sites, would allow for optical switching of large data transmissions with smaller transmissions being handled electronically.
   Researchers from the University of Valencia in Spain believe they have found a way to make a more dynamic optical add/drop multiplexer (OADM) -- by using sound. They presented their new design at "Dynamic and Reconfigurable Components." The researchers combine the spectral properties of Bragg gratings with the dynamic nature of the acousto-optic effect (using acoustic waves to modify the properties of the light in a fiber) in a new OADM. Their prototype has a response time of 95 microseconds, and the researchers believe that responses of less than 50 microseconds are achievable with the advantage of a crosstalk-free OADM.

CommunicationsOFC 2002 Attendance Exceeds Expectations

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