CIR looks ahead to 400G market opportunities

Created February 17, 2014
News and Business

The market for 400G optical transport equipment is expected to reach $528 million (€386 million) in 2019, according to the latest report from the market research firm Communications Industry Researchers (CIR).

The 400G market is emerging now. Last year Orange and Alcatel-Lucent announced what they claim is the first live deployment of 400G optical transport in the research and education community network RENATER. Meanwhile, carriers have been checking out 400G technology: the report profiles no fewer than 25 field trials.

CIR reckons that 400G transport is ready to move out of today’s trial phase and into production networks. “This shift is unlikely to happen in a big way for a few more years, but the foundations for success in the 400G space are being established now,” said CIR in an article on its website.

CIR says it is hard to predict which part of the network will generate greatest demand for fat pipes, because the answer seems to rely on an applications layer environment that is entering a period dramatic change. CIR attempts to make a prediction regardless, forecasting that around $240 million will be spent on transport network equipment for metropolitan/regional networks, slightly less than for long-haul pipes.

CIR also forecasts that the emergence of 400G optical backbones will create a sizeable market opportunity for optical and silicon components, which are expected to reach almost $195 million by 2019. All the major platform vendors are going to make optical integration an increasing part of their product design strategy.

The need for intelligent 400G transport will create growing opportunities for network processors and DSP chips, CIR adds. By 2019 shipments of network silicon of this kind will be worth around $47 million, growing to $95 million by 2021. These chipsets will deal with analogue-to-digital conversion, advanced modulation techniques and compensation for fibre impairments, such as dispersion and non-linearities. However, many of the critical chips will be built in-house by the equipment vendors.

This raises the interesting question of who will control component/chip technology going forward.  At one time, optical component and (to a large extent) telecom silicon was manufactured by the leading optical equipment providers.  Then most of this capability was divested or subcontracted to third parties.

But not surprisingly, the balance of considerations with regard to this issue has changed since then and CIR’s sense of the market is that increasingly the networking equipment makers may want to control their own chips and optical components, or, at the very least, emphasize the role that these chips play in the uniqueness of their products.

By Pauline Rigby

Press release: New CIR Report Says 400G Transport Market will Reach $528 Million by 2019

CIR Article: Outstanding Questions About 400G Transport Deployment


This article was written
by Pauline Rigby