Switch sales to grow at 24% by 2006

The market for optical switching devices will grow at an annual rate of over 24% between 2003 and 2006, according to Optical Switching Markets: 2003-2006, a new report from Communications Industry Researchers Inc (CIR).

However, the report warns that a switching manufacturer's success in the market will depend heavily on its technology choices and the timing of its product releases.

During the optical boom period there was a tacit assumption that victory in the optical switching space would go to the supplier with the most advanced technology. By contrast, CIR's recent interviews with customers at all levels of the optical value chain suggest that, for the next few years, the fastest growing markets for optical switching devices will be those with the most conventional technology:

The most rapidly growing segment of the market is to be found in OEO switching subsystems, driven mostly by the growing need for OEO cross-connects in the public network.

A renaissance of liquid crystal technology in reconfigurable OADMs will help to give this sector healthy growth between now and 2006.

Even the optomechanical sector can expect to grow, since switching devices in this sector are by far the most accepted type of technology for protection switching.

But CIR does not see optical switching remaining technologically conservative forever. While noting that there will be significant new revenue opportunities generated from improving on older optical switching technologies in the next two years, CIR's new report also claims that emerging customer requirements for small footprint, integration with other components, and rapid response times will ultimately lead to the decline of older optical switching technologies.

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