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Headliners at OFC 2019

By Casimer DeCusatis

What do fiber-to-the-cell, Netflix, photonic ASICs, and self-driving cars have in common? They’re all on the agenda for plenary and keynote speakers at OFC 2019. In this blog, we’ll preview some of the exciting presentations waiting for you at this coming OFC conference.

First up in the plenary session is a talk dedicated to open innovation in the emerging 5G marketplace, 100 Gbit/s data rates, and exponential internet growth. Who better to address this landscape than a senior executive for strategy and technology innovation from Deutsche Telekom with over 20 years’ experience, Dr. Alex Choi? With network costs continuing to rise, more radical approaches are required from large telecom and cloud service providers. Some of the trends converging in this area include the move towards disaggregation and away from traditional black box networking equipment, a more open ecosystem for optical network components and greater emphasis on both open source hardware and software. The convergence of these trends promises to create new revenue opportunities, even as it drives down the cost of more conventional systems. Service providers need to pay increasing attention to non-traditional market forces, including open source software from The Linux Foundation and recent alliances between TIP and O-RAN. Be sure that you don’t miss this presentation and its insights into the next generation ecosystem for optical communications.


Or perhaps you’re in the mood for a discussion on the latest chips, digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms, and photonic enabled ASICs. Co-packaging of photonics and electronics should provide cost and size reductions that outpace Moore’s Law, ultimately offering improvements in ASIC power, density, and performance. Such technologies are an important part of the ever-growing bandwidth demand in cloud computing, network access, and transport applications. These markets are also being driven by the conflicting demands of annual hardware cost reductions, higher reliability (including compensation for high baud rate impairments), and smaller, faster data rate components. The challenges and opportunities of small form factor interfaces will be addressed by OFC Plenary speaker Benny Mikkelsen Founder and CTO of Acadia Communications.

You can also hear about self-driving cars, like those developed by Google & spun off recently into their own company, Waymo. This is currently the only company in the world with a fleet of fully self-piloting cars used on public roads. There’s plenty of photonics technology involved, including LiDAR, cameras, and sensors that provide a detailed, 3D, 360 degree view of the world. With over 10 million miles of real-world driving experience, Waymo has learned a few things about photonics for the automotive industry. We’ll get to hear the inside story of their future plans for artificially intelligent cars that talk to each other and provide the next generation of mobility from their CTO, Dmitri Dolgov.


If all that sounds a bit overwhelming, perhaps you’d just like to chill out with some Netflix. After all, you’ve got plenty of choices; Netflix reaches over 150 million customers worldwide, and delivers over 100 terabits/second of programming. They’re partnering with hundreds of ISPs to localize a substantial fraction of this traffic through the Netflix Open Connect program. This includes an open peering policy from many locations, forming their content delivery network. Appliances which store and serve video content are either installed at IXPs in significant markets, or provided free of charge to qualifying ISPs who deploy directly within their networks. The control plane for these devices is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Managing such an enormous network requires some innovative processes, and we’ll expect to hear all about the design, deployment, and operations of Netflix, from script to screen, from Dave Temkin, VP of Networks for Netflix.


OFC attendees will get to hear all about Verizon’s fiber-to-the cell (FTTC), Ethernet services, CLEC ordering, and much more from Verizon’s VP of Network & Technology, Wireline Global Operations, Genia Wilbourn. Leading operations across more than 2,600 cities in 145 countries, Genia brings a unique perspective to modern telecom, and has also been recognized by Forbes and others for her initiatives in STEM education.


Where else can you hear world-class talent like this discussing the future of our industry, all in one convenient location? Nowhere but OFC 2019 ( ), so be sure to make your reservations early.  Let me know what days you plan to be at OFC; I’d love to share some gossip over a cup of coffee (or maybe something stronger) and hear your perspective on the optics field. Or drop me a line on Twitter (@Dr_Casimer), and maybe I’ll use your ideas in a future blog.

Posted: 2 January 2019 by Casimer DeCusatis | 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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