13 Dec 2016
Drivers are 100G links, data centers, but also 25GE, signage and personal computing, predicts market analyst CIR.Markets for Active Optical Cables: 2017 – 2026, analyst Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) says that revenues from AOCs will reach $8.9 billion by 2022 – compared with $1.1 billion in 2017.
Much of this growth is forecast to come from operators scrambling to install 100 Gbps links and the growth of hyperscale data centers. CIR commented that it is also seeing "important new opportunities" emerge for AOCs in 25 GigE, digital signage and personal computing.
The report focuses on the market changes occurring as western AOC suppliers merge and Chinese suppliers grow their market shares. It also discusses applications for AOCs in data centers (including Ethernet, InfiniBand and storage networks); digital signage; consumer electronics and personal computing; military networks; and campus networks.
CIR believes that although there may be as many as 200 firms selling AOCs today the market is dominated by 3c-Link, 10Gtek, Amphenol, Broadcom, Finisar, Gigalight, Mellanox, Molex, Samtec, Siemon and TE Connectivity. All of these companies are profiled in the report.
The 110-page report is said to provide granular, 10-year AOC market forecasts in both volume and value terms. Breakouts include: transceiver type, MSA, data rate, cable length, fiber type, application and country of use. CIR has been providing coverage of AOC markets for a decade and these forecasts are based on a newly revised forecasting model.
CIR says that 25 GigE AOCs represent an opportunity that did not exist when it produced its previous AOC report in 2015; revenues from such AOCs will exceed $500 million by 2022. AOC suppliers can make a compelling case for 25 GigE products based on 25 GigE’s lower cost per bit and need for fewer switches than the today’s ubiquitous 10 GigE. 25 GigE AOCs also offer a smoother path to 100 GigE.
Sales of digital signage AOCs will reach $1.1 billion by 2022 as signage adopts UHD video. Meanwhile, data mining and other big data processes will feed digital signage to improve the customer experience, again driving up the need for bandwidth.
Personal computing AOCs will take off in 2017 as 40 Gbps “Thunderbolt 3” products are deployed. For the first time, PCs will network at the same high data rate used by uplinks in large data centers, but this connectivity will not extend far before fiber must be used. CIR said that AOCs are “a perfect fit” for the Thunderbolt 3 environment because of their flexible, plug-and-play capability. The market for Thunderbolt AOCs, which will reach $600 million by 2022.