SEPTEMBER 24, 2007 -- Sales of telecom and datacom lasers will grow from around $1.0 billion this year to $2.9 billion in 2012, according to a new report just published by market research firm CIR (search for CIR).
According to CIR, the market growth spurt is due to several factors: optics is relentlessly pushing copper out of the network, 10-Gigabit Ethernet is the first Ethernet standard that is predominantly optical, FTTx is bringing optics to the residential access network for the first time, optics is replacing cumbersome copper Infiniband connections, and the transition from copper to fiber in storage networks is now all but complete. All of these trends create markets for lasers that have not existed before, CIR believes.
Other key points of the new report include:
- Tunable laser use to accelerate: Recent financing rounds for Santur and Syntune validate the tunable laser segment, a market that CIR expects to reach $870 million by 2012. The cost of tunable lasers is expected to decline as volumes ramp up and new cost-effective designs based on DBR lasers and integrated modulators make their impact felt.
- Silicon photonics could mean the death of multimode fiber: The first products of silicon photonics -- optically active cables aimed at the unwieldy Infiniband infrastructure -- will bring credibility to silicon photonics. Silicon photonics promises long-wavelength transceivers for the same cost as 850-nm optics. In fact, CIR believes that silicon photonics could be the single most important technology in the near term and could gradually push short-wave optics and multimode fiber into niche oblivion.
- Parallelism, the way of the future: Parallelism may be the optics of the future. It will dominate short-reach computing center interconnects as well as 10GBase-LX4 type transponders for 100-Gigabit Ethernet markets. Several firms are now implementing large array-type products from such companies as Avago, IBM, Infinera, and Luxtera. CIR's report suggests that by as early as 2012 more than 3.4 million lasers will be used to support connections at 100 Gbits/sec and over, with most of this bandwidth being supplied through parallel schemes.
CIR says its new report analyzes and quantifies all of the key market opportunities for telecom and datacom laser products. It covers both tunable and fixed lasers including VCSELs, DFBs, FCs, and ECLs, and focuses especially on showing how integrated optics and silicon photonics are on the verge of creating major new revenue streams for laser makers. This is also the first CIR report to quantify the impact of the next generation of parallel optics and 100-Gbit/sec networks. The report contains detailed volume and value forecasts and discusses the activities of the leading players in the worldwide communications laser market.