Coherent pluggables to transform optical transport market by 2024 – report

Created September 29, 2020
News and Business

The adoption of coherent pluggable optics will accelerate in 2021 as new technologies reach the market, according to the latest Transport Applications Report from networking component and equipment market research firm Cignal AI. It says fourth-generation coherent will extend beyond 400ZR to include higher performance solutions generally referred to as 400ZR+ and lower speed 100Gbps (100ZR) targeted at the metro edge.

“Standardized pluggable coherent optics, coupled with open line systems and network control, will represent a major change in network design,” said Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst for Cignal AI. “This shift will begin in earnest in 2022.”

After cloud operators initially provided a business case for 400ZR to component suppliers, those suppliers then designed and adapted products to address broader use cases such as higher performance 400Gbps and pluggable 100Gbps coherent. Incumbent, Wholesale, and Cable MSO operators still account for most of the global optical transport spending, and these operators will determine what role the new pluggable coherent optics will play in their networks. Cignal AI anticipates that pluggable coherent will cannibalize some standalone optical equipment, but new applications such as metro-edge connections for enterprises and 5G represent the largest near-term opportunity.















Further analysis is detailed in Cignal AI’s Optical Transport Applications Report, which is released quarterly. The latest 2Q20 issue updates market share for the second quarter of 2020 and provides forecasts in three key markets: compact modular equipment, advanced packet-OTN switching hardware, and coherent WDM port shipments.

Other key findings in the 2Q20 report include:

  • 400ZR, 400ZR+, and 100ZR should enable roughly a third of metro and long-haul connections by 2024, and significantly transform network design.
  • Global shipments of 400Gbps coherent doubled from last quarter and are now Ciena’s #1 product. Shipments from other vendors such as Infinera and Cisco have yet to reach large volumes.
  • Traditional 100Gbps coherent shipments declined, as Chinese vendors continue to move to 200Gbps speeds in proprietary pluggable and non-pluggable formats.
  • Compact Modular sales grew much faster than the overall market this quarter as disaggregation continues to gain traction in networks outside of Cloud & Colo.
  • Ciena’s market share of Compact Modular flattened as Infinera, Huawei, and ADVA sales ramp.
  • Packet-OTN sales grew outside of NA. Spending remains focused in APAC, accounting for over 60% of worldwide sales this quarter.

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.