Largest ECOC show for a decade welcomes 6000 visitors

Created September 29, 2017
News and Business

Pictured left, a regular ECOC exhibition feature is the FTTx Center, which hosts dedicated talks and demonstrations. Sell-out sessions on passive optical networking and fibre splicing demonstrated the importance training will play in the expected mass deployment of fiber across Europe in the coming years. Photo: Matthew Peach.

The annual ECOC conference and exhibition is Europe’s largest expo for the fibre optic communications technology industry. This year in Gothenburg, Sweden, it showcased the latest innovations, products and services across optical communications as well as providing an unrivalled opportunity to meet and network with key suppliers and industry leaders.

The 22nd edition of the event marked yet another successful instalment of the ECOC series, with almost 6000 attendees visiting 327 exhibitors and enjoying the widest range of conference presentations, showfloor “Market Focus” talks and research papers and posters in more than a decade. A record 3,211 people visiting the Market Focus sessions alone across the three days.

Silicon photonics, 400G evolution, network convergence, virtualization, fibre access, mobile, testing and troubleshooting were just the tip of the iceberg of the many hot topics discussed last week, as Gothenburg’s Svenska Mässan exhibition centre hosted the ECOC show and conference.

The sold-out exhibition was visibly larger than last year’s Düsseldorf expo and a notable feature across the halls was the impact of the impending 5G (“fifth generation”) wireless broadband technology, based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard.

Market Focus
The very popular Market Focus talks (unless you got in early, most were standing-room only) included Ericsson’s Paolo Monti talking about the synergies required between fixed and mobile networks; Ning Deng of Huawei considered optical network agility and packet optical transport; and Exfo’s François Robitaille and Brian Smith, of Lumentum, discussed the role of optical signal-to-noise ratio characterization and novel multiplexers in next-gen networks.

Notable launches
Keysight Technologies launched its latest test solutions for PAM-4, NRZ and 400G optical receivers. “We’ve seen a lot of interest at this year’s event, both from familiar faces and new players entering the market,” said Erik Babbe, the company’s Market Development Manager, Oscilloscopes.

Exfo announced the launch of its FTBx-88400NGE Power Blazer testing solution, aimed at helping telecom network equipment manufacturers to develop infrastructure solutions that support 400G technologies.

Fujikura launched a new range of fibre splicers commenting that it was especially appropriate to be here as Sweden is Europe’s leading market for ribbon splicing.

Finisar presented its QSFP28 eSWDM4 module, which transmits live data over 300m of OM4 multimode fiber displaying an error-free link using Forward Error Correction – something which it said “will be crucial in delivering cost-effective 100G solutions”.

Several companies announced new 5G technologies: Huber & Suhner launched its E-2000, fiber optic connector designed for the high-power applications that the 5G network will require. Similarly there were many exhibits of higher speed optical networks; 200G and 400G solutions and associated testing solutions from the likes of Anritsu, Exfo and Yokogawa were widely displayed.

Environmentally-focused and space-saving designs were also common themes as the expanding data center sector fights to cope with runaway bandwidth demands, without using too much real estate or overheating. For example, ProLabs displayed its new Green-branded transceivers, which require 30% less power than typical transceivers while supporting network rates up to 100G.

Industry responses
“ECOC is the biggest show in Europe as far as we are concerned,” said Ward Williams, CEO of ProLabs, which launched its company rebrand during the show. “The exhibition gives us the opportunity to show our current and potential customers what we do, as well as acting as a meeting point for the entire industry.”

Max Penfold, Sales Director, Europe, Deviser, commented, “This year’s event seemed to be massively pumped up – there were a lot of new faces around. The market is moving very quickly, companies are having to respond to it and one could see that innovation here with the exhibitors and attendees.”

Ian Giles, CEO, Phoenix Photonics, said, “ECOC is a really good forum for us. We are able to meet customers, but also researchers – people who are developing new techniques and next-generation systems. With this, we can understand what is required and develop our components to meet market needs.”

Further information about ECOC 2017 is available on the event website.

ECOC 2018
Next year the itinerant event will take place in Rome; exhibition bookings have already started and an early sell out is anticipated.

Matthew Peach

This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.