ANALYSIS & OPINION

WDM2014 show review: fibre and splice and all things Nice

Now that the dust has settled after Next Generation Optical Networking 2014, Tim Gillett solicits the opinions of exhibitors and delegates

By any measure, it appears that the Next Generation Optical Networking show, held last month in June, was a huge success.

Back in the French city of Nice after several years in nearby Monaco, the show attracted more than 700 professionals from across the entire optical networking ecosystem – from service providers, data centre operators all the way to the system vendors and component vendors – all gathered in one space.

The main conference hall was consistently packed for a series of lectures and panel discussions, while the exhibition floor was the scene for business discussions, speed networking, and generally catching up with industry contacts old and new.

Vanesa Diaz, of Corning, said the event had delivered in terms of content and networking opportunities, bringing together the top leaders across the industry and stimulating discussions 'that help to shape the future of our business'.

She added: 'For Corning, this is an excellent venue to discuss the importance low attenuation fibres as a complementary solution to system upgrades in order to cope with accelerating capacity demand. Christopher Towery explained how low-attenuation fibres enable a much higher system ONSR providing carriers with the opportunity to install economically advantaged 100G systems and a lower cost pathway to 400G and beyond.

'In the backhaul section, Dr Merrion Edwards introduced new fibre-cable installation technology like minicables, microducts and microtrenching, to challenge the industry perception that the cost of civil works to deploy fibre is prohibitively high. These technologies can help to reduce the cost of civil works by up to 70% making the option of deploying more fibre to increase network capacity a near-term rather than a long-term reality.'

Event director Jane Watson, of IIR, told Fibre Systems that there had been a 25 per cent increase in attendees compared to the previous year: 'There were at least 115 different service provider companies from 65 countries –  and, with more than 100 speakers across the three days, Next Generation Optical Networking provided a fully comprehensive agenda with a wealth of discussion, networking that covered all the major challenges and solutions for the optical networking industry for 2014 and beyond.  

This year's event was the third time Xilinx had exhibited at the show – the company's director of wired communication Gilles Garcia was also a speaker. He said: 'This event is one of the most important in Europe to meet with service providers and operators. This year again was very positive for Xilinx, especially with the joint announcement and presentation at the show on 400GE (with Spirent). It has generated lot of interest from, and discussion with, the service providers and operators. The location (quality of venue, cost of hotels, food) clearly contributed to event’s success and the large increase of attendees made this show highly valuable for Xilinx.'

Transmode's Jon Baldry was equally enthusiastic: 'Yet again, WDM and Next Generation Networking proved to be a highly successful event with great attendance by key decision-makers from across the industry. The event managed to address the key topics concerning the industry without too much overlap from vendors that can sometimes happen at events like this.'

'From a Transmode point of view we were very busy with meetings and there was a lot of interest in metro 100G and how this is being addressed with new Coherent 100G pluggable optics. The event was the perfect location to discuss packet-optical integration and how this now extends from the CPE to the 100G core. We also used the event to launch a new 3x CPRI + 2x SyncE/GbE Muxponder for mobile fronthaul applications, which again generated lots of interest.'

Bertrand Clesca of Xtera described a 'productive and interactive conference' that was 'an outstanding networking event'. He continued: 'At a time where Raman optical amplification is crucial for long-haul 100G and 100G+ optical networking, Xtera shared the outcomes of recent field trials with robust and easy-to-operate equipment that validated the possibility to transport 24 Tbit/s on more than 4,500 km and 64 Tbit/s on more than 1,500 km.  

'More specifically, 200G/400G channels relying on 16QAM modulation format can be transmitted with large margins on more than 2,000 km of aged fibre, with high average loss and the presence of multiple optical distribution frames and lumped losses all along the optical path. Unrepeated 100G transmission results were reported as well over distance exceeding 550 km.  In the Submarine Optical Networking session, Xtera delivered an update on recent contracts for the supply and installation of new subsea cable systems relying on its innovative Raman-based subsea repeater.'

TransPacket offers a novel technology enabling carriers to offer wavelength-services over an Ethernet-based infrastructure. Björn Gustavsson said: Our offering attracted a number of visitors from both carriers and system-vendors to our booth. Carriers showed great interest in our FUSION H1 node capability of enabling wavelength-services in their Ethernet network.

'The virtual wavelengths enables a transparent service with zero packet loss, low and fixed latency end-to-end across an Ethernet network.System-vendors developing routers, switches and optical transport systems where attracted by our FPGA-based FUSION technology offering. They clearly saw the advantage of embedding the FUSION technology into their system, enabling wavelength-services through routers and Ethernet switches and packet switched throughput efficiency in OTN nodes.'

Olaf Herr of JDSU added: 'We had the opportunity to speak directly to our customers and their customers about optical component and network and service enablement test solution innovations that JDSU is bringing to the market to help them optimise their networks for their end customers. A lot of our discussions focused on CFP2-based designs for both the line and client side as well as the latest in ROADM technology enhancements.'

As one of the few companies delivering a workshop, Cisco provided a well appreciated overview of optical evolved programmable networks (O-OPN). The workshop was driven by David Bianchi and Valerio Viscardi, both from EMEAR SP architecture team. Bill Gartner, VP/GM of high-end routing and optical group at Cisco, made the key note speech at the conference hall talking about "Network Evolution: Evolved Programmable Networks". Walid Wakim, principal engineer, pariticpate spoke about: "SDN, what does it mean for Transport/DWDM/Optical networking", while Mauro Macchi spoke about about "400G and beyond". Finally Lorenzo Ghioni, manager of product line management, participated in the "FlexGrid and evolving role of ROADM" panel.

David Bianchi told Fibre Systems: 'At the Cisco stand, leading-edge products and technologies were demonstrated – including the NCS4016 network convergent platform, the NCS2006 next generation DWDM, with FlexSpectrum and superchannel, as well as the ME4600 GPON/FTTH Cisco offer, ranging from access to core. WDM2014 had high-quality material, high-quality speakers and impressive stands.'

Andreas Hegers, head of corporate marketing and sales development Europe at ECI Telecom said: 'The WDM and Next Generation Optical Networking conference, held this year in Nice, is always a premier event for ECI.  It provides the opportunity to showcase ECI's products and network with a broad spectrum of the industry, and to conduct formal meetings with the many service provider customers who are present.

'The program content hit the mark with the three hot topics of the moment: Integration, Speed and Control. Integration is the convergence of DWDM, OTN and Packet functionality in a single platform to deal with exponentially growing data traffic. Speed refers to the maturing 100G market and how we will continue climbing the ladder to 400G and 1T. This was the topic of ECI's talk, given by Jonathan Homa, director of optical networks marketing. Control covers the emergence of software defined networking, and how to extend network functionality in a more open and programmable manner to service providers and their end-users.'

For their part, Coriant described the event as 'highly valuable':  'We had several key execs deliver keynote speeches at the show, including Uwe Fischer, our CTO and SVO of Product Management, delivering a talk entitled ‘Future Optical Networks in the Shade of Data Centre Dominance, SDN and NFV.’ Our chief evangelist Željko Bulut appeared on a panel discussing Flexgrid and the evolving role of ROADMs in optical networking, while Maxim Kuschenov, R&D engineer, delivered a talk around how to reduce cost and improve end to end protection and resiliency by uniting submarine and terrestrial networks.'

Ciena reported a similarly positive experience, Mervyn Kelly, EMEA Marketing Director at Ciena said: 'The WDM 2014 conference in Nice was a successful event with a greater number of attendees, insightful discussions and presentations on the evolution of packet-optical and submarine networking.'

'At Ciena we felt our booth, workshop and multiple conference presentations were good vehicles to share our strategic direction with our customers on how to transform networks to be more agile and programmable. The event was a great platform to discuss our work with TeliaSonera on their OTN- based network, and Equinix’, evolution to on-demand services. The WDM event enabled Ciena to have detailed engagements with our customers in a thought provoking environment.'

Tektronix enjoyed its first attendance at the event. Dean Miles, EMEA technical marketing manager, said: 'We are absolutely delighted with the outcome.

'As the leading test and measurement  technology solution provider to the optical and communications industries, it was a unique opportunity to showcase  our latest innovative technologies to key customers . The opportunity to network with so many key influencers and decision makers was invaluable . One of our key customers  presented a paper on "Coherent Optical Networks: 16QAM and Beyond"  Tektronix supported them during their live network evaluation and during the conference with our complete signal generation and analysis solution. A brilliant event and one we would consider supporting again in the future.'

  • By popular demand, the conference will be back next year from 22 to 25 June. With 80 per cent of the exhibition space already sold, the scene is set for further debate, discussion, demonstrations and networking. Keep tuned into www.nextgenerationoptical.com as the 2015 event unfolds.

Infinera keeps rolling

As ever, companies were keen to entice delegates to their exhibition stands – but Infinera went one further by bringing a demonstration truck all the way from Germany to Nice, to demonstrate its 'Intelligent Transport Network'.

Geoff Bennett, the company's director for solutions and technology explained: 'At the conference we saw a number of key themes repeated in the main conference presentation: the incredible success of coherent transmission at 100G and beyond; the widespread acceptance of the value of integrated OTN switching in modern transport networks; and that these networks have to be highly automated with a carrier grade control plane to help drive down operational costs.

'A consequence of Infinera’s unique Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) technology is that we tend to be very different in terms of our value proposition for these requirements.  We’re offering highly programmable, Intelligent Transport Networks that were designed without compromise to deliver the perfect data plane for today’s GMPLS control plane, and the next generation of Software Defined Networking for carrier networks.

'We also find that “seeing is believing” – and that’s why our demonstration truck is such a vital part of our sales process.  Inside the truck we have a fully equipped Intelligent Transport Network that visitors can play with to assure themselves that what we claim in our Powerpoint slides is genuinely true of our products. For all three days of the conference the truck was packed with customers and prospects, eager to see how Infinera can help them be successful.'

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