Free Space Optics global market forecast

Created August 4, 2015
News and Business

The worldwide value of FSO link devices in stationary non-military/aerospace outdoor links was $37.2m in 2014, according to a new survey published by market analyst ElectroniCast, which is based in Aptos, Ca, USA.

The global consumption of fixed-location (stationary) transmitter/receiver links used in non-military/aerospace FSO system equipment was $37.2m in 2014, up 11% from $33.5m in 2013. FSO transmitters and receiver pairs used in link equipment with a range capability of up to 500m led in relative market share in 2014 with a global consumption value of $25.2m.

According to Electronicast’s Free Space Optics Global Market Forecast & Analysis, FSO is a line-of-sight technology that uses directed laser beams, which provide optical bandwidth transmitters and receivers to link voice, video, and data intelligent transfer.  A single FSO link product from A to B can often incorporate multiple transmitter-emitters along with receivers to ensure adequate performance.

FSO systems are deployed near the 1550 nm wavelength window as well as the near-visible infrared spectral region around 780nm to 850nm.  Selected FSO system providers claim that their solutions can provide “carrier-class” availability even in adverse weather conditions. Solutions are possibly addressed through redundant light beams, as well as alternative technologies, such as the radio frequency-hybrid approach.

Stephen Montgomery, Director of the market study, said, “In 2015, we are seeing hybrid link equipment as a winning solution, especially in longer-distance links, to provide the assurance of redundancy, to cover for FSO’s weaknesses (weather and other obstacles), as well as multiple emitters per transmitter FSO unit to provide redundancy in signal links.”

“Another FSO trend in 2015 is deployment in residential FTTH solutions, where relatively short-link FSO is being installed as an alternative to optical fiber. Of course, FSO usage in short-distance links is not new; however, marketing to carriers as an alternative to optical fiber termination at the home is an interesting proposition,” Montgomery added.

The increase in the consumption of FSO links in the Americas region is attributed to not only continued upgrades and network facilitation in the United States and Canada, but partly from the accelerating economic growth of major cities in Latin America.  Other market dynamics here are increases in communication links needed for growing infrastructures.

European inner-city urban areas typically are difficult for wire-lines, including optical fiber cable installations; therefore, this fact promotes FSO or other wireless solutions. The Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) region is the current market leader, however, the APAC region has rapidly expanding market opportunities and therefore, the ElectroniCast forecast shows the APAC region with the fastest growth (2014-2020), with the region eventually taking over the leadership position.

See Also: ElectoniCast Consultants Press Release


This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.