Industry Focus - Optical Connections 2020

ECOC 2019

ECOC 2019 portended the exciting year that lies ahead for the industry. As the world moves forward into a total connectivity future, fibre is the great enabling technology, and the optical community gathered at the Conference and Expo in Dublin sent out a strong message that it is already rising to meet that challenge. Exhibition and conference goers to Europe’s largest optical connections event were treated to three days of product demonstrations, talks, presentations and company news at the vanguard of optical communication technology that will mark the event as one of the best yet for ECOC. If ECOC 2019 was anything to go by however, the 2020 event should be even better. Optical Connections editor Peter Dykes looks back at some of the highlights.

learning, ultra-wideband communications, newmodelling challenges in optical communications, the role of optical communications beyond 5G, PONs at 50G and beyond and low-latency optical communications. And then there’s the demos... Hotel was the venue for ten demo sessions on Monday 23rd September. The live session provided a forum for researchers from industry and academia to demonstrate their work with concrete systems, tools and prototypes. The demo’s covered all topics corresponding to those covered by the Conference and included everything frommachine-learning- assisted security monitoring in optical networks, to reliable optical networks with ODTN, resiliency and failover in data plane and control plane; coordinated fibre and wireless spectrum allocation in SDN-controlled wireless-optical-cloud converged architecture. Other topics included quantized deep natural network empowering an IM-DD Link running in real-time on a field programmable gate array; dynamic synthesis of disaggregated hardware platforms via cache coherent interconnect optical bridge and a distributed MU-MIMO demonstration using FPGA based sigma-delta-over-fibre. The full range of demo’s is far too long to list in the space available here. DEMONSTRATIONS The Hibernia room at the Intercontinental Manufacturing Symposium took place on Sunday 22nd September in the Minerva Room at the RDS. This was followed on Tuesday 24 September, by the 7th International Symposium for Optical Interconnect in Data Centres at the RDS. Then on Wednesday 25th September, Professor Brian Cox expounded the Wonders of the Universe in the RDS Concert Hall. SPECIAL EVENTS The Photonic Integrated Circuit

leading experts who provided insights into new and emerging technologies that have the potential to shape the future of photonics. These included Dr. Katherine Schmidke, sourcing manager, Optical Technology Strategy at Facebook; Dr. Chih-Lin I, Chief Scientist, Wireless Technologies, at China Mobile Research Institute; Timothy John Whitley, managing director, Research and Innovation at BT; Richard Jin, president, Transmission and Access Network Product Line at Huawei Technologies; Irish physicist Séamus Davis, Professor of Physics at Oxford University, Professor of Quantum Physics at University College Cork and Emeritus Professor of Physics at Cornell University.

The Royal Dublin showground proved an excellent venue for the ECOC 2019 Conference and Expo. Returning to the venue for the third time, the Expo filled over 10,000 square kilometres and more than 300 exhibitors and 6,569 delegates and visitors gathered at the event to discuss and debate the future and unveil some of the latest developments in the fibre optic industry. THE CONFERENCE The 45th European Conference on Optical Communications offered delegates the chance to hear to hear the thoughts of some of the finest minds from both academia and the wider fibre optics and photonics industries. It also featured a range of workshops and presentations aimed at addressing some of the issues facing the industry going forward, and in many cases, offering solutions. The conference also included live demos of prototypes, detailed tutorials and workshops and ample networking opportunities at some of Dublin’s greatest visitor attractions. For the first time at ECOC, Conference organisers introduced an interactive poster session where all posters were displayed on large touch screens, allowing the presenters to fully explain their work in an interactive forum. In addition, the Conference featured a major public outreach event, primarily for secondary school students, the highlight of which was Professor Brian Cox’ discussion on the origin and evolution of our solar system and the universe. PLENARIES For four days, over 400 presentations featured speakers from Facebook, China Mobile, BT, Huawei and University College Cork, among others. The plenary sessions offered an overview of the issues explored during the conference and delegates got the chance to hear from five industry-

There was no shortage of visitors at ECOC 2019!

TUTORIALS ANDWORKSHOPS Delegates were also able to attend a wide variety of tutorials on topics such as modelling and designing optical fibres; high speed InP lasers for 400GbE; the principles of coherent signal reconstruction based on direct detection, optical interconnects in data centres; quantum limits in optical communications; the status of and prospects for terahertz communication; high speed optical access networks for mobile fronthaul architectures and optical disaggregation; the role of SDN in converging mobile, access, and cloud networks and much more besides. There were also eight workshops available in which attendees could explore topics which included integrated photonics, hybrid PICs, Neuromorphic DSP/machine



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