The Optical Networking and Communication
Conference & Exhibition

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OFC Day 4 – Wednesday, March 12 – What a world (of photonics)…

By Casimer DeCusatis Ph.D

Welcome back to my daily blog about OFC 2014. Today we’ll be taking a look at the wide world of photonics represented at OFC, from service providers and cloud computing to optoelectronic packaging and software for dynamic network provisioning.
Today provided an opportunity to attend the Service Provider Summit which was held on the exhibit floor (so even if you don’t have a full conference registration, you can still attend with just an exhibit pass). The program was sponsored by Juniper, and included topics of interest to network architects, designers, technologists, and CTOs within the service provider and carrier markets. A keynote on packet optical and OTN based platforms was delivered by the CTO of Windstream Technologies (a facilities based service provider in the U. S.). Examples were given showing the relative advantages of each technology, and some of the challenges the industry has faced so far. Other discussion topics included packet optical with 100G links, using both metro 4x25 form factors and coherent solutions. Router companies are adding integrated optics on routers, while transport companies are adding MPLS/packet features on transport equipment. Finally, a discussion was held on network evolution topics such as carrier OSS with SDN, and high capacity radio over fiber solutions.
This afternoon, at the special OSA sponsored symposia Enabling the Cloud, my paper on dynamic provisioning of the WAN using SDN and NFV was presented. For many years, servers have taken advantage of abstractions which facilitate programmability, such as operating systems, programming languages, file systems, and virtual memory. As a result, modern servers have become highly virtualized, capable of supporting tens to hundreds of virtual machines (VMs) per physical server, each of which can be dynamically created, moved to a different host, modified, or deleted in a few minutes. Unlike servers, however, data networking (as used in both conventional enterprise data centers as well as cloud computing or service provider applications) has not yet evolved its own set of fundamental abstractions. We presented experimental results from an SDN/NFV test bed constructed as part of the New York State Center for Cloud Computing and Analytics SDN Innovation Lab at Marist College. In collaboration with academic and industry partners (including Columbia University, City University of New York, State University of New York, IBM, ADVA, NEC, Plexxi, and BigSwitch) we demonstrated automated live VM migration across a 100 km WAN, with all switches within and between data centers controlled using SDN. Pre-standard software was used to incorporate WDM equipment under SDN control.
Today’s session on optoelectronic packaging was also well received. In traditional systems, optics and electronics have each been confined to their own packages (for example, optical modulators and ASIC drivers are packaged separately). To achieve higher speeds, lower power consumption, and smaller footprint, optics and electronics must become more tightly integrated. Novel approaches discussed at this session included ball grid arrays, interposers, and through-silicon vias for optical connectivity. Non-hermetic packaging approaches for optical devices were also considered. Other sessions held today reviewed key innovations that have enabled board mounted optical subassemblies, such as electrical interposers, fiber attachment, co-packaging of electrical chips, and technologies that accommodate optics in uncooled environments. These symposia also discussed challenges facing the evolution of optical interconnects towards chip-level integration, as required to address the issues of power reduction and chip  I/O bandwidth density.
Of course, we’ve just scratched the surface of what OFC has to offer. Today also brought more free programming on the trade show floor, some uninterrupted time in the exhibit hall with no parallel sessions to distract you, and symposia on topics such as network optimization, fiber characterization, nonlinear signal processing, and more. What part of the photonics world did you explore today?  Drop me a line on twitter (@Dr_Casimer), and while you’re at it, don’t forget to send me your guess at the theme running through all my blog post titles this week (hint: it’s both a book AND a movie). Stop by tomorrow for the answer, and my wrap-up of this year’s OFC conference.

Posted: 13 March 2014 by Casimer DeCusatis Ph.D | with 0 comments

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC)  or its sponsors.

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