Optical backplane production and consumption to rise sharply

Optical backplane production and consumption to rise sharply

ElectroniCast Corp., a California-based forecasting and consulting company, says the typical number of optical-communications channels that must be connected from one location to another is rapidly expanding. In its new report, Optical Backplane/Motherboard Components Global Market Forecast, ElectroniCast says this growth and future large demand will provide the profit potential to fund the development and marketing of optical backplanes and their supporting components and materials.

The optical-communications channels may be in optical fiber, planar optical waveguide, or free space. Typical connections are from optoelectronics on printed wiring boards or cards to other boards on the same or other shelves. Another common optical interconnection is between cabinets of multicabinet equipment, such as digital crossconnect switches.

Global consumption of optical backplanes will expand from $6.1 million in 1998 to $1.95 billion in 2008. North America will top users with a 79% share in 1998, declining to 65%, or $1.26 billion, by 2008. The North American growth rate will average 66% per year over the 2003-to-2008 span.

The global production of optical backplanes will be dominated by rigid backplanes; however, flexible backplanes and motherboards will maintain their strong penetration, holding a 34% share, or $659 million, by 2008.

Optical backplanes account for only a minor share of the total value of the communications optical interconnect components market. Currently, there are other, more dominant routes by which the applicable interconnect components migrate to their end use in communications equipment and systems. But as the average cost of optical backplanes drops over the next decade and the backplanes` density, or number of channels, increases, equipment designers will find these interconnect units to be the most cost-effective solution. Secondary advantages will be in space savings and increased reliability provided by backplanes.

Optical backplanes and motherboards, says the report, will increasingly displace fiber-optic cables for short interconnects, which accounts for the much more rapid growth of optical backplane consumption value, compared to the forecasted strong growth of overall optical interconnect value.

The complete report is available from ElectroniCast for $18,000 by calling Theresa Hosking at (650) 343-1398, fax (650) 343-1698. u

More in Market Research