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Friday
May052017

BT bolsters research in quantum technologies

BT is increasing its investment in quantum technologies. “We have a whole team of people doing quantum and it is growing really fast,” says Andrew Lord, head of optical communications at BT.

The UK incumbent is working with companies such as Huawei, ADVA Optical Networking and ID Quantique on quantum cryptography, used for secure point-to-point communications. And in February, BT joined the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), and will work with Facebook and other TIP members at BT Labs in Adastral Park and at London’s Tech City. Quantum computing is one early project.

Andrew LordThe topics of quantum computing and data security are linked. The advent of quantum computers promises the break the encryption schemes securing data today, while developments in quantum cryptography coupled with advances in mathematics promise new schemes resilient to the quantum computer threat.

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Monday
Apr172017

Infinera inches closer to cognitive networking

Part 2: Infinera’s Instant Network

The second and final part as to how optical networking is becoming smarter

Infinera says it has made it easier for operators to deploy optical links to accommodate traffic growth.

The system vendor says its latest capability, known as Instant Network, also paves the way for autonomous networks that will predict traffic trends and enable capacity as required.

The latest announcement builds on Infinera’s existing Instant Bandwidth feature, introduced in 2012, that uses its photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology.

Instant Bandwidth exploits the fact that all five 100-gigabit wavelengths of a line card hosting Infinera’s 500-gigabit PIC are lit even though an operator may only need a subset of the 100-gigabit wavelengths. Using Instant Bandwidth, extra capacity can be added to a link - until all five wavelengths are used - in a matter of hours.

The technology allows 100-gigabit wavelengths to be activated in minutes, says Geoff Bennett, director, solutions and technology at Infinera (pictured). It takes several hours due to the processing time for the operator to raise a purchasing order for the new capacity and get it signed off.

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Friday
Apr072017

Real-time visibility makes optical networking smarter

Part 1: Ciena's Liquid Spectrum

Systems vendors are making optical networks smarter. Their latest equipment, combining intelligent silicon and software hooks, can measure the status of the network and enable dynamic network management.

Ciena recently announced its Liquid Spectrum networking product while Infinera has launched its Instant Network. Both vendors exploit the capabilities of their latest generation coherent DSPs to allow greater network automation and efficiency. The vendors even talk about their products being an important step towards autonomous or cognitive networks.

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Tuesday
Apr042017

An insider's view on the merits of optical integration

One of the pleasures of attending the OFC show, held in Los Angeles last month, is the many conversations possible in one location. The downside is that too many are cut short due to the show's hectic schedule. One exception was a conversation with Valery Tolstikhin (pictured), held in a quiet room prior to the exhibition hall's opening.

Tolstikhin is president and CEO of Intengent, the Ottawa-based consultancy and custom design service provider, and an industry veteran of photonic integration. In 2005 he founded OneChip Photonics, a fabless maker of indium phosphide photonic integrated circuits for optical access

One important lesson he learned at OneChip was how the cost benefit of a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) can be eroded with a cheap optical sub-assembly made from discrete off-the-shelf components. When OneChip started, the selling price for GPON optics was around $100 a unit but this quickly came down to $6. "We needed sales in volumes and they never came close to meeting $6," says Tolstikhin.

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Friday
Mar312017

China Mobile plots 400 Gigabit trials in 2017

China Mobile is preparing to trial 400-gigabit transmission in the backbone of its optical network in 2017. The planned trials were detailed during a keynote talk given by Jiajin Gao, deputy general manager at China Mobile Technology, at the OIDA Executive Forum, an OSA event hosted at OFC, held in Los Angeles last week.

The world's largest operator will trial two 400-gigabit variants: polarisation-multiplexed, quadrature phase-shift keying (PM-QPSK) and 16-ary quadrature amplitude modulation (PM-16QAM).    

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Wednesday
Mar292017

Reflections on OFC 2017

Mood, technologies, notable announcements - just what are the metrics to judge the OFC 2017 show held in Los Angeles last week?

It was the first show I had attended in several years and the most obvious changes were how natural the presence of the internet content providers now is alongside the telecom operators, as well as systems vendors exhibiting at the show. Chip companies, while also present, were fewer than before.

Source: OSA

Another impression were the latest buzz terms: 5G, the Internet of Things and virtual reality-augmented reality. Certain of these technologies are more concrete than others, but their repeated mention suggests a consensus that the topics are real enough to impact optical components and networking.

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Sunday
Mar122017

IoT will drive chip design and new styles of computing

Looking back 20 years hence, how will this period be viewed? The question was posed by the CEO of imec, Luc Van de hove, during his opening talk at a day event imec organised in Tel-Aviv.

For Van den hove, this period will be seen as one of turbulent technological change. “The world is changing at an incredible rate,” he says. “The era of digital disruption is changing our industry and this disruption is not going to stop.”

Luc Van den hove

It was the Belgium nonoelectronics R&D centre’s second visit to Israel to promote its chip and systems expertise as it seeks to expand its links with Israel’s high-tech industry. And what most excites imec is the Internet of Things (IoT), the advent of connected smart devices that turn data into information and adapt the environment to our needs.

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