Photonic switch and switch matrix sales to continue rising

Dec. 1, 1997

Photonic switch and switch matrix sales to continue rising

The rapid expansion of fiber-optic transport and access networks will cause global purchasing of photonic switches and switch matrices to rise from $94 million in 1996 to $3.2 billion in 2006, according to the Photonic Switch and Matrix Technology and Market Global Forecast, completed by ElectroniCast Corp., San Mateo, CA.

While most of the 1996 switch market value consisted of simple switches such as 1ٴ, 2ٴ, and 1¥N configurations, the future growth of photonic switching will be dominated by complex switch matrix systems, according to the report. Other predictions include the following:

The North American consumption value of fiber-optic photonic switches and switch matrices will increase from $68.3 million in 1996 to $570 million in 2001. The North American production of photonic switches and switch matrices will expand from $76.7 million to $2.29 billion from 1996 to 2006. Over the next decade, the trade bal- ance will remain in favor of North American producers.

Research and development of optical switches will progress, with some models becoming commercially available within the next decade.

The expansion of central office digital crossconnect and trunk add/drop multiplex capabilities will increase as the need for network bandwidth capacity grows. Selec- tive optical bypass of a part of the signal flow around the digital crossconnect and multiplexer will become a trend due to lower costs, which will create major pho- tonic switch markets for equipment ven- dors and carriers.

The cost of a major service interruption by a cable cut will increase exponentially over the next decade. Costs are predicted to jump from about $40 million in 1996 to $1050 million in 2006 for 172-fiber long- haul trunk, and about $10 million in 1996 to $250 million in 2006 for 48-fiber long-haul trunk. The high costs will drive increased fiber deployment to achieve more redundant routes and the use of large, fast, automated matrix switches to protect the routes.

Average fiber counts will increase, and the average number of wavelengths per fiber will increase from slightly more than one in 1996 to approximately twenty in 2006. Ter- abit-per-fiber will not be unusual in 2006.

Telecommunications equipment will play a larger role in the market, expanding to more than 40% by 2001. Growth in later years will be driven by the move to higher bandwidth telecommunications trunks and local area network backbones, 2.4 and 10 Gbits/sec per wavelength, and the demand for wavelength-division multi- plexing overlays.

The growth rate of cable-TV switch use will slow in the second half of the forecast period as operations are folded into telecommunications systems.

Private data networks and military/ aerospace optical interconnects will grow less rapidly than telecommunications usage.

Increased use of dense wavelength- division multiplexing technology and the need for monitoring signals will rapidly drive the increasing use of 1¥N and M¥N photonic switches.

Optoelectronic integrated circuits will complement, rather than displace, the fu- ture applications of photonic space switches and wavelength-selectable switches.

The report is available for $15,000 from ElectroniCast Corp., 800 South Claremont Street, Suite 105, San Mateo, CA 94402. For more information, call Theresa Hosking at (650) 343-1398, fax: (650) 343-1698.u

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