November 9, 2016

Strong growth in active optical cables

					Active optical cable

Demand for active optical cables will increase dramatically by 2022. A recent study forecasts annual growth rates of more than 30 percent.

Optical cables have many advantages. They are light and thin, do not emit any stray radiation, are immune to electromagnetic interference and can transfer huge amounts of data over vast distances with almost no losses. Thanks to their efficiency, energy requirements are also reduced. In order to make use of all of these benefits compared to copper cables in existing infrastructures, active optical cables (AOC) have integrated converters. At the input an I/O converter converts electronic signals into optical signals, which are fed into optical fibers via laser diodes and at the output are converted back into the original electronic signals by an O/E converter. In new, high performance network standards, such as 10 and 40 Gbit Ethernet, InfiniBand or HDMI, AOCs can bridge hundreds of meters and, because of their resistance to interference, can be laid parallel to other supply lines.

In a recent study, US market research company Allied Market Research forecasts massive growth in the AOC market. From USD 481.3 million in 2015, global sales of active optical cables are set to increase to USD 3.4 billion by 2022. This would mean average growth rates of 32.7 percent over the next five years. This is driven by the enormous increase in data traffic throughout the world. Apart from previous investments in data centers and high performance computers, the analysts expect to see more demand from companies that want to prepare their network infrastructures for increasingly networked process and production worlds. The study also mentions broadband expansion in industrial and emerging countries, and the shift in the telecommunications sector toward optical data networks as reasons for this rise in demand. According to Allied Market Research, at present, five players share two thirds of the AOC market. These are Avago Technologies, the Finisar Corporation, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Oclaro Inc. and Viavi Solutions.