OFC 2019 Was All About 800G, 400ZR, Real-World 5G and the Future in Network Speed & Efficiency

Posted Mar 12, 2019 by The Optical Society (OSA)

The global optical communications community assembled in San Diego from 3-7 March 2019 for OFC 2019 (Optical Fiber Communications Conference and Exhibition). This year’s event featured the market’s prevailing topics in standing-room only business and technical sessions; technology and product demonstrations and announcements from the world’s leading companies; plenary talks that explored open networks, communications between self-driving cars, and optical integration for higher data rates; and dynamic presentations on real-world 5G deployments and network build-outs.

As the world becomes increasingly more connected, the optical communications infrastructure that supports it needs to evolve to be more robust and efficient, and at the same time, cost-effective. The industry gathered at OFC to debate these business challenges and identify potential technical solutions to meet customer demands.

Driving Business Solutions

This year’s event convened nearly 15,400 attendees from around the world to celebrate successes, debate new opportunities and push the boundaries of innovation. The show boasted 683 exhibitors on a floor encompassing 189,607 net square feet (500,000 gross square feet). Overall, the exhibit served as a platform for important industry announcements, including developments in coherent DWDM networking, silicon photonics and 400ZR advancements.

OFC 2019 offered a unique experience for attendees, both showcasing technical research and debuting commercial solutions. For example, several live multivendor interoperability demonstrations took place on the exhibit floor: Coherent Transceiver Interoperability, Ethernet Alliance, OIF and Open ROADM MSA SDN. Technologies from approximately 40 companies were featured in the demos, including: 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), 25GbE, 50GbE, 100GbE, 400GbE; Open Source Open ROADM SDN Controller; pluggable CFP2-ACO and CFP2-DCO modules; and Common Electrical I/O (CEI)-112G, FlexE (Flex Ethernet) and 400ZR.

Leading Technical Vision

Conference content, which included more than 450 peer-reviewed papers, 180 invited and tutorial presentations, 10 workshops, 6 panels and 55 short courses, focused on the latest discoveries. For example, technological breakthroughs in data center connectivity, 5G and IoT. In addition, advanced integrations of optics and electronics will open doors for reaching new data limits. From solving the open network challenge to advances in modulation formats and the move toward faster optical interface speeds, the discussions at OFC this week explored what’s happening now, what will be possible in the near-term, and where to head in the long term.

Leaders in the field agree that OFC 2020, being held 8-12 March in San Diego, will serve as a springboard for the next round of innovations. Next year OFC is expected to see samples of 400G ZR, with deployment coming later in the year.

Click here for a detailed highlight of the 2019 event from GoPhotonics.