Telecom Stocks: Busted By Broadband

Fiber-optic suppliers were at the center of NASDAQ's boom. But a too-good technology and frantic overbuilding triggered a high-speed collapse

Tucked into a corner of Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., stands a small box that houses what could be the future of the telecommunications industry. Called a LambdaRouter, the device contains 512 microscopic mirrors, each of which can switch light waves packed with more than 10 billion bits of information--roughly the contents of 10,000 novels--from one hair-thin strand of optical fiber to another.

You could conceivably jam thousands of these micromirrors into a soccer ball and have enough capacity to connect everyone on the planet simultaneously to everyone else without the time and expense of converting the...

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