CIR: Communications laser markets to see return to growth

SEPTEMBER 3, 2009 -- The market for communications lasers will grow to approximately $1.1 billion in revenues by 2014, according to a new report from industry analyst firm CIR.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2009 -- The market for communications lasers will grow to approximately $1.1 billion in revenues by 2014, according to a new report from industry analyst firm CIR. CIR’s analysis indicates that infrastructure upgrades by carriers combined with emerging applications in consumer applications and personal computing will offer good prospects for the communications laser firms as the worldwide recession abates.


Key findings from the report include:

  • PONs will be the fastest growing market for lasers over the next five years. PONs have survived relatively unscathed by the recession because carriers see the technology as a way to reduce provisioning costs in the access space. In addition to the FP and DFB lasers that currently dominate the PON space, more VCSELs are expected to be sold for next-generation PON designs that will soon start to be deployed. Revenues from PON lasers will reach $213 million by 2014, more than double those for 2009.
  • Public carriers continue to replace their core SONET/SDH transport networks with WDM. As a result, WDM lasers and pumps are expected to account for almost 40 percent of the entire communications laser market during the 2009 to 2014 period. Tunable WDM lasers in particular are expected to reach $225 million in sales by 2014, making tunable the largest revenue generators among all the various types of communications laser.
  • Driven by the rise of digital video, optical interfaces for consumer electronics and personal computing may be the next big opportunity for the laser industry. Already, the next generation of the USB interface will include a high-speed optical option and Intel and others are pushing the concept of an active optical cabling solution for both PCs and displays. CIR believes that in 2014 the annual addressable market for lasers in these segments could run to at least 0.5 billion units.
  • Optical integration is now almost ubiquitously viewed by laser makers as the way to lower costs, smaller devices, and lower power consumption. It also offers a way for optical chip designers to create lasers that are distinguished in the marketplace by features that can command higher prices. CIR believes that by about 2015 there will be the potential to create about 200 devices on a single chip.

The new report provides CIR's latest forecasts of communications lasers for the years 2009 to 2014. Detailed five-year forecasts are provided with breakouts by laser type (FP, DFB, EMLs, VCSELs, tunable, and pump) and application (WDM, SONET/SDH, PONs, Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and parallel optics.) The report also contains strategic assessments of emerging markets for lasers such as chip-to-chip communications and optical interfaces/cabling for consumer electronics, as well as of newer laser types such as quantum dot lasers and silicon lasers. The report also profiles and assesses the product/market strategies of key transceiver/transponder providers.

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