Meeting highlights communications challenges

July 1, 2001
Despite a downturn in the US technology sector, the National Fiber Optics Engineers Conference (NFOEC) is gearing up for another year of record attendance this month at the Baltimore Convention Center (July 8-12, Baltimore, MD).

Despite a downturn in the US technology sector, the National Fiber Optics Engineers Conference (NFOEC) is gearing up for another year of record attendance this month at the Baltimore Convention Center (July 8-12, Baltimore, MD). Last year's attendance caught organizers by surprise, swelling to 10,000, when only 3500 were expected. This year, conference planners are estimating 8500 attendees and 6500 exhibiting personnel. Telcordia Technologies (Morristown, NJ) will host the conference, which offers six tracks of technical sessions held concurrently Tuesday through Thursday. Topics include optical network architectures, optical transmission systems, management of optical networks, network planning and deployment, and physical networks and components. More than 175 technical papers will be presented, running the gamut from all-optical networking to wavelength interleaving.

A business track will cover the economics of data communications for metro and long-haul, as well as strategies for analysts and venture capitalists. Telcordia will participate in every track, which is not surprising, says corporate PR manager Norman Booth of Telcordia.

"We have always been involved in the conference, since the days when we were Bellcore, the R&D arm of the baby Bell companies," said Booth. "Now, the baby Bells have grown up, gone through a series of mergers and acquisitions, and are competing, leaving Telcordia as the sole sponsor."

Technical sessions

One hot topic for the upcoming conference is apparent: making optical networks affordable. While companies on the exhibit floor are expected to showcase their plans for volume manufacturing (see figure), speakers will discuss the value of funneling the most information down the smallest pipes for metro and long-haul networks. Shahid Akhtar of Ciena (Linthicum, MD) will speak on the value of an all-optical metro network core during the All-Optical Networks session on Tuesday. And Abe Shocket of Mahi Networks (Sunnyvale, CA) will speak on how to optimize SONET networks with DWDM during the Thursday session on deployment topics.

Another recurring theme will be 40-Gbit/s technology for long-haul optical networks. On Tuesday, speakers from Nortel Networks (Brampton, Ontario), PhotonEx (Maynard, MA), and Mintera Optical Networks (Lowell, MA) will present an overview of the developing 40-Gbit/s next-generation network. On Wednesday, a session entitled, "Meeting Bit Rate Demand" will discuss strategies for migrating from 10-Gbit/s to 40-Gbit/s network backbones. Also, WDM Solutions will sponsor "The 40 Gbit/s Forum" Sunday, July 8 (see "40 Gbit/s Forum looks at the future," below).

Although marketing may take a backseat at NFOEC compared to the other conferences, the number of exhibitors at NFOEC is predicted to be the largest ever—430 companies. "It will certainly be the largest NFOEC in terms of attendance and floor space," said Booth.

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About the Author

Valerie Coffey-Rosich | Contributing Editor

Valerie Coffey-Rosich is a freelance science and technology writer and editor and a contributing editor for Laser Focus World; she previously served as an Associate Technical Editor (2000-2003) and a Senior Technical Editor (2007-2008) for Laser Focus World.

Valerie holds a BS in physics from the University of Nevada, Reno, and an MA in astronomy from Boston University. She specializes in editing and writing about optics, photonics, astronomy, and physics in academic, reference, and business-to-business publications. In addition to Laser Focus World, her work has appeared online and in print for clients such as the American Institute of Physics, American Heritage Dictionary, BioPhotonics, Encyclopedia Britannica, EuroPhotonics, the Optical Society of America, Photonics Focus, Photonics Spectra, Sky & Telescope, and many others. She is based in Palm Springs, California. 

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