ECOC 2011 in Geneva
This year the European Conference on Optical Communications was in Geneva, a city in a stunning setting on the shores of Lake Geneva, with hills around and snow-capped mountains visible in the distance. The water jet in the lake was the inspiration for this year’s ECOC logo.
The Palexpo centre is visually uninspiring, but the internal arrangement worked well with the conference downstairs and exhibition hall directly above. There were more than 1200 conference delegates. The exhibition was bigger and with more exhibitors than last year, a good sign that things are on the up, despite the expense of doing business in Geneva. Here’s an overview of a few of the presentations in the technical conference that caught my attention.
FTTH in Switzerland
It was interesting to hear from SwissCom in the opening plenary about the Swiss way of doing Fibre to the Home. Four fibres are being installed to each home to allow SwissCom and another service provider to compete. All the installation has to go underground and so is very expensive. To help share the costs SwissCom is usually installing in partnership with the regional electricity distribution companies of which there are about 800 (!) in Switzerland. The comms links will also facilitate more SmartGrid apllications to run.
However, this model was considered by the Swiss regulatory authorities as being likely to extend SwissCom’s dominant market position and to be anti-competitive. With rather embarrassing timing for ECOC the entire programme was put on hold, a few days before ECOC started. This is another example of how political FTTH can be, and you’ll be hearing more on this from OTT in the near future…
635km on OM3 multimode fibre
In the development of standards for 100Gb/s Ethernet and premises cabling we are stuck with a maximum transmission distance of just 100m for 40 & 100Gb/s on OM3 multimode fibre and 150m on OM4 fibre with low loss connectivity. So when I saw the title of this paper from Corning I thought that there was a misprint… but no! In fact the paper reported on the successful transmission of 1.6Tb/s over 635km of Corning ClearCurve OM3 fibre! All of this using technology that is explained on OTT’s Certified Optical Network Engineer (CONE) course.
Non-intrusive DGD & PMD measurements on live traffic
Vincent Lecoeuche of JDSU gave a very good presentation on their new technique for measuring DGD, just by tapping off some of the transmission signal and feeding it into their special coherent detection system with tuneable laser. This has been implemented on their MTS-8000 field test platform and was on display on their exhibition stand. If several wavelength channels are available then PMD can be determined. The system also acts as a very high resolution OSA, which can yield further information on the signal type and quality. Field trials have already been very successful and will be reported in a paper at OFC2012. Contact email@example.com if you are interested in receiving further information on this system.
Developments with the “Three ‘M’ technologies”
As described in a previous blog entry, the challenges of providing ever increasing capacity are being addressed using:
- Multi-level coding schemes
- Multi-core fibre and
- Multi-mode transmission
So, as expected, advances were reported in many papers related to these topics.
One of the ‘themes’ that I detected at ECOC this year was the expectation that transmission systems based on 16-QAM would become commercially available in the near future.
One of the post-deadline papers reported on a transmission experiment with a record spectral efficiency per fibre of 60b/s/Hz. This used 32-QAM-OFDM superchannels with 8.6b/s/Hz spectral efficiency, on each of the 7 cores in a multicore fibre that was 76.8km long.
There was a whole session in the conference dedicated to transmission over few mode and multi-mode fibres.
The exhibition is a great place to catch up with friends and acquaintances from the world of fibre optics and to try out new products. I also use it as an opportunity to discuss developments in the International Standards that I am involved with producing. This year I conducted a survey of power meter manufacturers, in order to support the revision of ISO/IEC 14763-3. It was also interesting to see a new Optical Modulation Analyser from Southern Photonics being launched at the show. (They also get the prize for the best freebie bag at the show.) In the IEC we are working on a new Technical Report on analysis of complex modulation formats.
US Conec have an extended range of cleaning probes for all sorts of connector styles as well as a compact, wearable, cleaning probe with belt clip with retractable cord.
- ECOC 2012 is in Amsterdam
- ECOC 2013 is in London
See you there!