LightTrends Newsletter

A lot of Action and Live Demos at the First Post-COVID-19 Optics Events in China

September 2020

The 2020 China International Optoelectronic Exposition(CIOE) held September 9-11 in Shenzhen had 89,294 attendees, up 13% from 2019, along with 2,512 exhibitors and 72 separate forums with approximately 550 individual presentations. CIOE’s exhibits surprised the attendees with numerous live demos of 400G and 800G optics.

Optinet China is a smaller must-attend conference for the telecom industry and is becoming a vibrant forum for Cloud companies as well. It is usually held in early June, but it was moved to the last week of August this year.

Plenary presentations from Wei Leping and Mao Qian have been highlights of Optinet China since the conference started 20 years ago and this was certainly the case in 2020. Mao Qian continues to track FTTx deployment statistics from around the world and proudly places China as #1 in all of his charts. Deployments of 10G PON are just starting to reach decent volumes in China, but Mao insists that 50G PON is just around the corner. Several suppliers, including Accelink and Hisense displayed prototypes of 50G PON OLTs and ONUs at their CIOE exhibits.

Wei Leping has been promoting deployments of ROADMs in China for the last 10-15 years and he proudly reported significant progress on this front. The recently completed All Optical Core Network version 2.0 of China Telecom, consists of five regions with a total system length of 220,000 km, supported by 470 ROADM nodes and providing a total network capacity of 590Tbps – the largest in the world. He emphasized that deploying ROADM technology to the edge of the network requires significant cost reduction. The very limited number of suppliers of Wavelength Selective Switches limits competition and innovation in this market segment.

Sharing his insights on how the network is likely to develop over the next decade, Wei Leping pointed out that Wireless access networks are the new cradle for innovation, including decoupling of hardware and software, clear standards, enabling white box based hardware and open source software. The rest of the networking infrastructure is likely to follow the path for innovation paved by wireless access. Bandwidth of the optical networks will continue to keep up with the traffic growth by using wider spectral bands (C+ and C+L) as data rates per wavelength are reaching the limits. Wei Leping advocated for upgrading 100G DWDM networks directly to 400G, while using 200G technology in metro access networks. With ROADMs being widely deployed, his new mission is promoting use of AI in optical networks. One of the benefits of AI is to improve resilience of the networks, which is critical for supporting new applications enabled by 5G.

According to interviews conducted by LightCounting at Optinet China, more than 600,000 5G base stations will be deployed in China in 2021. A variety of 25G transceivers for fronthaul applications were on display at CIOE, but it is the 400GbE and 800GbE live demos that were the highlight of the exhibit.

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