July / August  2006




August/September Contents 

Sufis - wisdom against

 Sufi poet saints

 50 years of mountain

 Interviews with:
 Ajaz Anwar
Iqbal Hussain
Kamil Mumtaz

 Heritage cities:
 Taxila Dharmrajika
 Bhera - Part I
Bhera - Part II


Cotton - the fibre of

Cotton textiles of
 South Asia

 Handlooms & Dyes

 Hiran Minar


 Lahore Gymkhana

 B2B - Part I

B2B - Part II

Optical Networks I
Optical Networks II

Role of Internet in
 S Asian development

Technology and
 investment in US
 stock markets

Security & Trust in
 Internet banking

 Telecom & software
 - trends & future in
 South Asia

China & India - major
 players by 2025

Pakistan - IT Markets
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV









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Optical Networks


Salman Minhas

First published December 2000

A specter is haunting the Telephone companies of the world – the specter of abundant communication bandwidth or the commoditisation of previously scarce bandwidth. Enron [formerly an oil giant with pipeline rights of way that has constructed a 30,000-mile long U.S based fiber optic network] is already selling bandwidth on the model of a stock exchange.

This bandwidth explosion has been due to the development of the fiber optic back bone networks and the development of certain key optical components such as the erbium doped fiber amplifier EDFA, dense wave division multiplexing [DWDM], Raman amplifiers.

Global Crossing rules the waves:

All-optical networks have been carried out in the first phase mainly by the undersea submarine carriers such as Global Crossing that has laid about 100,000 miles of fiber network – with the final phase - Japanese network next year. It has, ironically, as one of its customers the British Government linking up its foreign embassies globally.

Land Based Carriers:

Core Back Bone [Ultra Long Haul] Network

Initially carriers deployed DWDM to provide the benefits of Optical amplification and multiple channels over a single fiber. Carriers were content to deploy 40-80 channel DWDM systems that require EDFA’s every 80 kilometers and complete electrical regeneration every 400/500 kilometers.

Core network Edges/Nodes :

Where DWDM lines end, vast numbers of Sonet /SDH add-drop multiplexers [ ADM’s] and Digital Cross connects were required to handle the changes in speeds. As the pressure from the Internet Service Providers and other network operators grew to provide circuits at greater than 1000 kilometers, carriers were forced to go All-Optical.

Point-and-click provisioning requires no retime, reshape, retransmit/ amplify [ 3R] of the

signal. Carriers avoided the 3R by using EDFA’s and Avanex’s Raman and Power amplifiers. The reduction in the 3R regeneration leads to lower costs of network hardware. For a 40 channel OC 192 [ OC 1 = 52 Mbps ] on a 2500 kilometers route

about 500 line cards are required using DWDM systems. By eliminating 400 of these line cards the savings are about $ 40 million.

Sycamore Networks whose founder is Desh Deshpande has a lead in the design of Intelligent optical Networks whereby service providers will be able to support value added high bandwidth applications such a broadcast, voice recognition, video-conferencing, and other applications in the areas in B2B and genetic sciences outlined below.

Raza Foundries another Silicon valley optical communications incubator is busy creating solutions to the problems in the Optical Networks especially in the traffic choke points in the last mile.


The Optical Network Companies : [ market ticker symbol ]

JDS Uniphase – [ JDSU]

Avanex - [ AVNX ].

Agilent – [ A ].

Corning - [ GLW ]

Nortel - [ NT ]

Ciena [ CIEN ]

Applied Microcircuits [ AMCC ]

Texas Instruments [TXN ]

Last Mile Companies:

Broadcom [ BRCM ]

Terayon [ TERN ].


For a detailed look at these optical network technologies go to the sites of ‘Lightreading’ and the magazines " Red Herring" and "Upside’ - and their web sites.


Optical Networks – South Asia :

South Asian countries are in the grip of some of the most expensive, slow and bureaucratic National Telecom carriers [ India - VSNL, MTNL] and [ Pakistan- Pak Telecom Corp., Pak. Telecom Foundation ] . The deregulation of the Telecom environment has been slowed by the bureaucratic foot dragging at these institutions. In addition, Defence & Military issues / concerns of the Airwaves / Frequency Spectrum has led to a paralysis of this sector. Internet penetration is low and telephone density is about 7-10 %. Fiber Optics links have been laid but are nowhere at the level of U.S.A. Data Bases are non-existent, Email, Voice telephone calls are the most urgent application need.

Solutions via satellite technologies [ VSAT terminals cost about under $ 1000 and satellite Transponder space is about $ 1 million per year.] are possible. Schools, Colleges and Universities need to be networked.

It is important for south Asian countries to learn and adopt from what other progressive countries and their policies [ China ] have resulted in.




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