Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Ethernet Technology Summit and OFC/NFOEC 2011

The next few weeks I’ll be very busy. First I’ll be chairing Session 105 (Ethernet Chipsets/Components) at the Ethernet Technology Summit. While most of the conference is about R&D projects, I’ve chosen to focus my short presentation on current opportunities for components suppliers. You'll be able to download the presentation from my Web site soon.

In March, I’ll be heading to OFC/NFOEC 2011. There I have three different sessions I’m involved in. My short course on “Data Center Cabling – Transitioning from Copper to Fiber” will be held Monday morning. A short excerpt of this short course can be accessed through an archived Webinar I did recently. Monday afternoon I’ll be participating in the Computercom Symposium by presenting “The State of the Short-Reach Optics Market.” On Tuesday, the kick-off of the Optical Business Forum (see previous post for details) will take place where I’ll be moderating the Carrier Ethernet Exchanges session.

Hope to see you in Santa Clara this week or Los Angeles the week of March 7th.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bringing the Optical Networking Supply Chain Back Together: The Optical Business Forum at OFC/NFOEC

As the networking equipment supply chain has broken up into intellectual property suppliers, semiconductor suppliers, optical component manufacturers, and full system manufacturers, telecom carriers are often 2-4 steps away from the technologies that can alter the economics of running their networks. This was not the case ten years ago during OFC's peak attendance years when many equipment vendors still owned components divisions. Yet as the large carriers turn to business accounts to cover the costs of expanding their optical networks and increasingly depend on technologies from their suppliers' supplier's suppliers, there has been no central trade event where they can gather to meet with this expanding set of companies entering their networks, or to examine the latest advances in optical technologies. OFC/NFOEC has seized the opportunity to bring the telecom supply chain back together to serve the community with much greater depth than any other show. It now has The Optical Business Forum.

Major telecom providers are in significant competition with each other for large business accounts. With wireless taking up a greater share of telephony revenue, and households having limited budgets to spend on service regardless of bandwidth offered, service providers see their future lying with the business customer. While they do not publicize much of their activity with commercial accounts due to regulatory pressure, businesses are a major factor behind carriers expanding the capacity of their optical networks.

Verizon's sale of its northern New England and West Virginia lines was carried out because of the limited base of commercial accounts in those regions. AT&T built nine 40-Gigabit MPLS nodes outside of its incumbent territory, where it does not offer U-Verse or any video service, in order to increase capacity for its corporate data and IP/VPN customers. It has kept quiet in the press regarding this upgrade, in spite of tens of millions invested. In an addition to corporations continuing to make heavy investments in bandwidth, carrier IP cores are carrying more traffic, with Petabytes transferred still growing 30 to 40% a year. And in order to maintain their dividends, as well as their returns on capital investments, carriers need revenue from the high margin, high budget business customer.

The Optical Business Forum was developed by analysts associated with DataCenterStocks.com. It is the first forum in what we’re hoping to be a yearly affair covering the most important topics in the area of optical transport for businesses data communications. This year’s summit is on the exhibit floor and consists of a key note address on High-Bandwidth Ethernet Services given by Rajiv Datta, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of AboveNet Inc. Following the keynote are three focused sessions:
  1. Who is Buying Optical Bandwidth Services?
  2. The Economics & Business Case for Connecting Data Centers
  3. Carrier Ethernet Exchanges
The program includes speakers from AboveNet, Allied Fiber, CENX, Equinix, Juniper Networks, Packet Exchange, Telx Ethernet Exchange, Verizon Digital Media Services, XO Communications, Zayo Fiber Solutions and zColo. Moderators include Craig Clausen from NPRG, Michael Howard from Infonetics and myself.
Join us at OFC/NFOEC and hear what you’re customers’ customers are saying.