RealTime IT News

Industry Gears up for Telecom Tradeshow

The 17th annual Supercomm trade show kicks off Monday with programs covering a range of topics, including broadband, enterprise networks, wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol .

More than 25,000 people attended last year's show in Atlanta, and more than 500 companies exhibited, according to its producers, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the United States Telecom Association.

This year's four-day event, held at McCormick Place in Chicago, comes as the industry is putting its recent slump behind it. In recent months, telecom carriers, cable operators and Internet service providers have been upgrading networks to handle new consumer and business services. That is beginning to translate to more orders for equipment makers.

The show will focus on three growth areas of the telecom market: research, IP services and wireless broadband. FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy heads a list of senior government officials that will be speaking at the event. The FCC and other regulators are playing an important role in shaping the environment for new communications services. Debate about what rights states have to regulate and tax VoIP services and how airwave spectrum can be expanded to take advantage of new wireless technologies are currently working their way through Washington.

Executives from top companies, including Edward Whitacre, CEO of local phone giant SBC Communications , will deliver keynotes. High-ranking managers and engineers from AT&T , Cisco Systems , Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks fill out the speaker line-up.

There will be a number of related seminars, such as the TIA's policy program "Roadmap to Recovery" on Monday and Tuesday.

Besides speakers and panels, a slew of companies will be demonstrating products in the exhibit hall.

Among them is Ciena , which will take two booths to highlight an expanded product portfolio for service providers, cable operators and large corporations.

In addition to optical network gear, the Linthicum, Md.-based company now offers storage and data networking, wavelength services and broadband access.

"I think we're all still pretty cautious, but overall, industry sentiment is improving," Ciena spokeswoman Nicole Anderson told internetnews.com. "Certainly, we are hopeful."