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Optical circulator sales set for healthy growth

07 Aug 2013

Global sales of fiber optic circulators to reach $230 million in 2013, $313m in 2017, says analyst.

The global sales value of fiber optic circulators in optical communications will grow at an average annual rate of 8.4 percent, from this year’s value of almost $230m reaching $313m by 2017.

These are the conclusions reached in a new market report from ElectroniCast Consultants. The consumption value is forecast to increase with rising quantity growth partially offset by declining average prices.

The fiber optic circulator market is divided into various different port-count configurations: 3-ports, 4-port, and above 4-ports. According to ElectroniCast, 3-port circulators are expected to hold an estimated 80% market share in 2013. More than 70% of the current 3-port circulator market value is used in telecommunication applications.

Telecoms focus

The report states, “Telecommunications is set to maintain its dominant market share lead throughout the forecast period. Specialty applications such as R&D laboratory, sensors, test equipment, oil/gas, and other applications will hold second-place."

ElectroniCast also notes that fiber optic circulators used in military and specialty applications "are typically priced at a relatively huge premium versus the other applications, which is largely attributed to packaging upgrades, such as to cope with harsh environments."

Growth in demand for such devices will primarily be driven by increasing deployment of optical fiber in the metro/access network space, the continuing demand for upgrading networks to accommodate rapidly increasing bandwidth requirements, plus the need for additional monitoring and testing of the optical fiber networks will drive the steady consumption of fiber optic circulators.

As terrestrial national backbone and undersea systems approach Tb/s capacities, advanced fiber-optic components, such as fiber optic circulators, are key in enabling DWDM systems with narrow channel spacing to achieve the large numbers of channels required.

Increasing demand

Fiber optic circulators are used with erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, fiber optic sensor applications, dense WDM (DWDM), optical add/drop multiplexing (OADM), optical time domain reflectometers (OTDR fiber optic test equipment), bi-directional transmission systems, dispersion compensators, and other devices.

Non-telecoms and specialty applications of fiber optic circulators used include: inter- and intra-enclosure interconnects; and fiber optic sensors, such as for manufacturing, engineering, military and aerospace, test and measurement, biomed and automotive. They also find applications in sensing and measuring parameters such as mechanical strain, temperature and pressure and detection of chemicals.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org

ECOPTIKLaCroix Precision OpticsCeNing Optics Co LtdIridian Spectral TechnologiesHyperion OpticsTRIOPTICS GmbHMad City Labs, Inc.
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