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chief executive told a technology conference he expects industrywide demand for optical networking products to rise in 2002.

According to reports, Gary Smith said he sees sales of newer optical equipment rising next year over 2001, though not at the 24% pace he previously predicted.

Ciena predicted in August that its own sales would rise in fiscal 2002 by a percentage in the low teens. The company's fiscal year began Nov. 1.

According to


, Smith declined to comment on Ciena's own forecast.