29 May 2003 Surrey, UK Lightwave -- BPA Consulting Ltd.'s latest report, "Worldwide Market and Technology Trends for Optical Substrates and Backplanes 2002-2007," focuses on the various optical substrate technologies that are under development and are targeted at high performance systems that require high speed and/or high data transfer rates. The key market segments for optical technology include high-end data-communication routers/switches, telecommunication switches, high-end servers, and military/avionic systems.
One major trend discussed in the report is that copper based technology has improved and is now being used in systems that were thought to be the exclusive domain of optical technology as little as two years ago. This is due, in part, to the higher cost associated with nascent technologies as well as to the inevitable improvements in mature technologies to extend their life.
What is clear is that many potential users and developers agree that it is not a case of "Do we still need optical technology?" but "When will it have to be used as an enabling technology?" in the segments identified above.
According to the report, many of the technical challenges have been underestimated-- especially low loss optical board coupling.
Three types of optical board technology are covered in the report:
° Buried optical glass fiber
° Buried glass waveguides
° Buried polymer waveguides
The first of these is likely to be the main construction for at least the next couple of years; with predominantly polymer-based optical waveguides being used towards the latter end of this decade. The low loss characteristics and high thermal stability of glass also make it an attractive technology; it will find use in a number of applications, say analysts.
BPA has developed forecasts for optical substrates up to the year 2010, by market segment (e.g. telecomms switches) and technology type (e.g. photopolymer) in both volume and value terms. For more information about the report, "Worldwide Market and Technology Trends for Optical Substrates and Backplanes 2002-2007," visit the company's Web site at www.bpaconsulting.com.