Fiber optics to be bright spot in future of network cabling

Aug. 27, 2001--Even though copper cabling is expected to dominate over the next 5 years, fiber will reach almost 69 million ports shipped in 2005 for the combined Local Area Network (LAN) switch and Network Interface Card (NIC) markets.

With a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23 percent through 2005, fiber optic cabling is a technology with a bright future, according to Cahners In-Stat Group. The market research firm projects that, even though copper cabling is expected to dominate over the next 5 years, fiber will reach almost 69 million ports shipped in 2005 for the combined Local Area Network (LAN) switch and Network Interface Card (NIC) markets.

"Real growth opportunities lie with fiber even though copper is much more prevalent to the desktop," says Lauri Vickers, Senior Analyst with In-Stat's Voice & Data Communications Group. "Fiber to the desktop is still an expensive proposition however; its costs and benefits, relative to the proposed available copper upgrade options, make it the far wiser choice when the time comes for an organization to pull new cable. This, combined with fiber's superior security and quality attributes, will drive fiber further into the enterprise."

In-Stat has also found that:

* The transition to fiber will be a slow process, as organizations will not immediately begin to rip out their copper cabling infrastructure in favor of fiber. However, as organizations max out the capabilities of existing Category 5 or 5e cabling, the new cable of choice will be fiber. Fiber will account for approximately 13 percent of all the ports in the LAN in 2005, up from 11 percent in 2001.

* All forms of cabling to the desktop will decline as wireless technologies improve. The elimination of desktop MAC (Move, Add and Change) costs is a powerful inducement to adopt wireless. Wireless will account for approximately 4 percent of all the ports in the LAN in 2005, up from 1 percent in 2001.

* Most of fiber's double-digit growth over the next five years will be driven by the more economical multi-mode fiber that appeals more to large networks than to small ones.

The report, "Copper, Fiber & Wireless: How Will We Hook Up?", provides end-user survey results and five-year forecasts for fiber, copper and wireless ports. It assesses technology, user preferences and market trends impacting the overall usage of copper and fiber cabling and wireless technology in the LAN. The report is available for $2,995.

About Cahners In-Stat Group:

Cahners In-Stat Group covers digital communications research from vendor to end-user, providing the analysis and perspective that allows technology vendors and service providers worldwide to make more informed business decisions. For more information, visit www.instat.com.

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