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- Notes From OFC 2004
- February went by much too fast
for us, as your editor was travelling over half the month, including
visiting the OSA/IEEE Optical Fiber Communications Show (OFC)
in Los Angeles in late February. OFC had lots of exhibitors -
maybe more exhibitor personnel than actual visitors when we were
there. About half the exhibitors, and certainly the majority
of passive component vendors, were from the Far East.
- For those of us in fiber optics
for a long time, OFC is a chance to catch up with old friends
and see how the tecchnology is developing, or in the case of
multimode fiber, making a revival and having the same problems
it had with bandwidth 20 years ago.
- Here are some highlights from
- 1310 VCSELs
- Picolight showed production
transceivers using the devices, Infineon had prototypes and Honeywell
said they are in reliability testing. We've been anticipating
these devices for thier lower cost, perhaps enought to drive
many links to SM fiber with its practically infiinte bandwidth.
However, Picolight pointed out another big - BIG - advantage:
the narrower spectral width of the VCSEL, much narrower than
Fabry-Perot devices and even DFBs, allows longer links in long
distance networks because it suffers less chromatic dispersion.
These devices have some really big potential.
- Tools & Test Equipment
- Test equipment seems to be getting
more and more integrated, with more functions and capability.
Circadiant showed a network tester for up to 10G Ethernet that
was not much larger than a mini OTDR. All the tester companies
had OTDRs with modules to allow adaptation to test for performance
issues you probably didn't know existed. AFS (Noyes) had new
fiber cleaning packs for connectors and alignment sleeves that
uses an optical cleaning fluid that is non-hazardous and shippable,
a big improvement over isopropyl alcohol. Even LOCTITE, the adhesive
people, showed up to pitch their anaerobic adhesives for fiber
optics, including some packages of smaller amounts, more in line
with the miniscule amounts you use in termination.
- Otherwise, the hall was filled
with companies showing lasers, couplers, DWDM parts and systems,
and dozens - maybe hundreds - of gadgets that you probably never
knew existed or what they might be used for. That's OFC, the
top of the tech heap in fiber optics.
- 10 Gigabit Ethernet On FDDI
- The IEEE is working on several
new versions of 10G Ethernet , including one to work over legacy
multimode fiber, the so-called "FDDI" fiber with 160
MHz-km bandwidth at 850 nm and 500 MHz-km at 1300 nm. The idea
is to have a version that will run over the most common fiber
in networks today, albeit at shorter distances. Work continues
on copper versions too, with a 15 meter link running on shielded
4-pair cable approved, intended for use between devices in a
data center. A structured cabling version running on a high bandwidth
UTP cable with 625 MHz bandwidth is also in process, that effectively
kills off today's Cat 6. Since 10GbE will have to have a new,
very different UTP cable, fiber may be a more viable alternative
for many users.
- Fiber Costs Vs Copper Costs
- Is fiber to the home viable?
The TIA Fiber Optic LAN Sections (FOLS) has developed a cost
model that helps users understand the real cost issues. It's
done by FOA board member Eric Pearson and is quite detailed.
Take a look at http://fols.org/
and note the dates of some of their web conferences on fiber
- Train The Trainer Programs
- The next FOA TTT program will
be in Cincinnati this June. A full week of training is planned
- 3 days of basic fiber optics and 2 days on teaching it. Attendees
who complete the program successfully get their Instructor Certification
- Look for an update at http://www.thefoa.org/foa_ttt.html
and details on signing up for it.
New Tech Topics
Plastic Optical Fibers (POF)
Eric Pearson's Newsletters - with
some tests on connectors.
New sections of "Lennie Lightwave's
Guide To Fiber Optics" covers loss
testing of fiber optic cables and OTDRs.
Interested In Advanced Certification?
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and provides logo
files on this site for that purpose. But we are also asked
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refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your
Name, CFOS/T" for example.
Feel free to use the logo and
designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!
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- FOA Board of Advisors
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F. Douglas Elliot, Past President
William H. Graham
Jim Hayes, President, Treasurer
John Highhouse, Past President
Danny S. Lyall
Eric Y. Loytty
Paul Rosenberg, Past President
Richard James Smith
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