Large metro amplifier opportunity to ramp in 2005

July 1, 2002

The worldwide market for optical-amplifier components and subsystems is forecast to jump from more than $700 million this year to nearly $1.1 billion in 2006, claims a new report from Communications Industry Researchers (CIR-Charlottesville, VA). But because significant WDM ring deployment is not expected to occur in the metro space until 2004, the metro amplifier market is not anticipated to take off until 2005.

Some metro networks appear to need amplification because of their size, complexity, and/or distance, observe CIR analysts. Traditional amplifiers do not adequately address many of the metro requirements, particularly low cost and higher excess signal losses.

Conventional erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) will be widely used in metro networks, but new technologies are emerging to meet metro amplification needs, including semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs), linear optical amplifiers (LOAs), and "amplets." That said, CIR believes that SOAs and components using dopants other than erbium will not see impressive sales even by 2006.

Several incumbents have dominated the optical-amplifier space, including Corning, JDS Uniphase, Nortel Networks, Alcatel, and Agere. While the market has traditionally been closed to newcomers, startup amplifier vendors such as Genoa and Onetta have found emerging opportunities over the past few years and should continue to do so in the near term, though CIR doubts that all metro amplifier startups will survive. The keys to success, say the analysts, are simpler scalability, flexible wavelength management, richer performance monitoring, and efficient parts inventory. Next-generation devices with such functionality may be available in as little as two years-at one-third less cost of today's systems.

For more information on CIR's report, "Optical Amplifiers: A Market and Technologies Forecast," visit