Cignal AI: Expect coherent pluggables wave to reshape networks

Nov. 12, 2020
The market research firm stated in its 2Q20 Transport Applications Report, released in September, that adoption of such optical modules will pick up next year and continue to ramp strongly through at least 2024.

Cignal AI expects an upcoming wave of coherent pluggable optical transceivers will significantly shape the direction of optical transport networks. The market research firm stated in its 2Q20 Transport Applications Report, released in September, that adoption of such optical modules will pick up next year and continue to ramp strongly through at least 2024 as 400ZR, 400ZR+, and 100ZR optical transceivers become more widely available.

“Standardized pluggable coherent optics, coupled with open line systems and network control, will represent a major change in network design,” said Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst for Cignal AI. “This shift will begin in earnest in 2022.”

While data center operators sparked the development of 400ZR specifications, Cignal AI believes that incumbent, wholesale, and cable MSO network operators are taking a close look at the technology as well as offshoots such as 400ZR+ and 100ZR. The fact that such pluggables can obviate the need for standalone transponders will have an impact on certain categories of optical network hardware, much of the expected near-term use of these modules will come in emerging applications such as metro-edge connections for enterprises and 5G. Overall, Cignal AI expects 400ZR, 400ZR+, and 100ZR will enable approximately 33% of metro and long-haul connections by 2024.

Other findings of the 2Q20 report include:

  • Overall shipments of 400G doubled versus the first quarter of the year, with the lion’s share coming from Ciena.
  • Shipments of coherent 100G declined, with Chinese operators moving to 200G.
  • Compact modular systems continued to be popular, with sales growing faster than the overall optical transport market. Sales outside of the original cloud and colocation market continue to pick up.
  • Sales of packet-OTN equipment grew outside of North America, with much of the revenues coming from APAC. That region represented more than 60% of worldwide sales during the second quarter of the year.

The Cignal AI Transport Applications Report includes market share and forecasts for revenue and port shipments for optical equipment designed to meet specific applications, coherent optical technology and compact modular and advanced packet-OTN switching hardware. Deliverables include an Excel file with complete data set, PowerPoint summary, live presentation of results, and market news reports on significant industry developments.

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