Communications Technology

Ottawa is an established centre of excellence

Ottawa is a world-class hub of innovative trailblazers anchored by top optical networking firms who rely on our experienced tech talent base. Leaders like ADVA Optical Networking, Nokia, Ciena, Cisco, Fujitsu, and Infinera all have a significant presence in our city.

Today, 90% of Canada’s industrial telecommunications research takes place in Ottawa making us a global leader in developing the future of communication networks. Here you will find North America’s only pure play optical fabrication centre and several other government labs at the forefront of telecom research, including the Communications Research Centre (CRC), the Canadian Space Agency’s David Florida Laboratory, and the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC).

These R&D centres play a crucial role in complementing commercially deployable research to locally-based companies like Blackberry’s QNX, Nokia, Cisco, and Ciena which invest in R&D, grow the talent pool, and attract investment.

Why Ottawa is the ideal location for communications technology leaders:

    • Ottawa has the highest concentration of tech talent (as a percentage of a city’s total employment) in North America at 11.6 percent – ahead of San Francisco at 10.9 percent. (CBRE Tech Talent 2021)
    • Home to 65 federal research labs, including the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre
    • Home to Area X.O, the first integrated V2X test facility of its kind in North America
    • Ottawa receives the highest percentage of federal R&D expenditures in science and technology

Communications Technology Companies in Ottawa

Examples of Ottawa's Communications Technology Expertise

These companies are taking advantage of Ottawa's world-class environment for leading-edge products, technologies and innovations.


Ciena is the second largest supplier in the world of optical technology, which is the high-speed core of today’s internet. Since purchasing Ottawa’s former technology giant Nortel Networks’ carrier ethernet and optical networking division in 2010, the company has grown to do the majority of their global R&D in the nation’s capital and has become the region’s second-largest technology employer after Nokia.


Five years ago, this Swedish company established a R&D lab in Ottawa and has since then pioneered cutting-edge products for its customers all over the world. As an example of local technology leadership, in collaboration with the City of Ottawa and Rogers Communications, Ericsson installed wireless sensors in eight rivers and streams in the National Capital Region. These sensors are automated and can monitor temperature fluctuations, water quality, and other variables and thereby detect unusual levels of toxicity in the water supply. If any potential issues with the waterways are detected, the sensors send signal alerts to the city officials. Ericsson’s Connected Water solution is not only efficient, but also brings significant cost savings for the City of Ottawa. Each sensor is estimated to cost $4000 less than other solutions on the market.


Nokia is spearheading next-generation communication services, revolutionizing the future of 5G and internet of things. Nokia’s presence in Ottawa is primarily focused on research and development. Product lines developed in Ottawa focus on high-performance networking that supports the delivery of advanced residential, business, and mobile services. This Finnish multinational has a history of partnerships with local post-secondary institutions in order to nurture tomorrow’s innovators and garner a pipeline of high-quality expertise. For instance, Nokia has virtualized its equipment to allow Carleton University BIT students to access the Nokia lab remotely for hands-on experience with testing, troubleshooting, and configuring networks.

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