Optical amplifiers poised for growth in 2003

Monday, 17 December, 2001

Hi-tech research firm, Cahners In-Stat Group anticipates that the total market for optical amplifiers used as linear amplifiers on long haul and metropolitan area network (MAN) applications will increase from approximately $6.6 billion in 2001 to $9.4 billion in 2006.

This market will consist of new installations, spares, and anticipated upgrades to existing systems and the timing of such upgrades. According to Richard Cunningham, a senior analyst with In-Stat, "The importance of optical amplifiers to the efficient use of optical bandwidth in long-haul and, more recently, metro optical networking applications, can scarcely be overstated. Optical amplifiers have had and will continue to have an enormous impact on the traffic-handling capacity of optical networks."

While the next 12 to 18 months in the optical networking field will be exciting and fraught with some danger, In-Stat foresees that the need for fibre-based optical amplifiers used for linear amplification of optical signals will remain substantial, both for "greenfield" deployment and for system upgrades to higher data rates.

In-Stat also found that it is expected that Raman growth will be more prevalent than erbium-doped fibre amplifiers (EDFA) growth in 2003, in large part because of the smaller number of units involved on the Raman side.

In addition, even though it is possible, semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) are not expected to enter the metro transport marketplace. If they do, they are expected to capture revenue directly from the low-cost EDFAs on roughly a dollar-for-dollar basis. Opportunities in such areas as optical switching will be the natural "home" for SOAs.

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