1 March 2011 6:43:05 PM
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By Atul Srivastava
OFC/NFOEC is widely recognized as the premier conference in the field of optical communications. What I find is a real distinction for OFC/NFOEC is that the conference also features a strong trade show. The entire virtuous cycle connecting optical research with product development and then applications is represented. The combination of both the frontline research being presented at the conference and the presence of the latest products that are being released on the trade show floor give a full package to any person who comes and attends this conference.
For example, in the last few years, we have been seeing a lot of research in novel modulation formats, and other techniques for enabling 100 Gb/s transmission. Now that this particular technology has been shown to be commercially viable; the challenge is to move to the next level in research. So I believe, at this year's conference, we will see papers on even higher-speed communication per channel, which will include 400 Gb/s, and then moving forward to ideas for 1 Terabit/s channels.
I don't have a crystal ball of course, but there are three areas/product representations that I think we'll see on the exhibit floor this year:
Products both on the transmitter side, which have incorporated advanced modulation formats, like DQPSK and so on, and also on the coherent detection side;
Wavelength-selective switches for managing wavelengths in networks. I expect to see companies announcing WSS products with large port counts—exceeding 20 or more—and having flexible wavelength grid architecture down to 25 GHz or even 12.5 GHz granularity;
Low-cost components for fiber to the home (FTTH), which now has been growing rapidly; I'm looking forward to seeing some of the very low cost products, on the transmitter side, and filters supporting FTTH currently being deployed.
The most exciting thing about OFC/NFOEC is it's a living and breathing conference and exhibition, which is constantly including new areas—frontier areas as well—so we could also see announcements that are completely unexpected. You'll just have to come to LA to find out!
OFC/NFOEC General Co-Chair