According to a new study from the ElectroniCast Corp. (San Mateo, CA), the global consumption of photonic (optical communication) switches and switch matrices will rise dramatically from $308 million in 2000 to more than $16 billion in 2010. Demand will be driven by the rapid expansion of fiber-optic transport and access networks, mainly in telecommunications. The private data network, as well as the specialty/instrumentation and military/aerospace market segments, will also continue to be major switch users. Most of the 2000 switch market consisted of simple, conventional switches such as 1 x 2, 2 x 2 and 1 x N configurations. According to Jeff D. Montgomery, chairman of ElectroniCast, value-wise, the future growth of photonic switching will be dominated in dollar value by complex switch matrix systems, while conventional switches will still have the highest volume demand.
Switch matrices are sold at four levels of integration:
1. As components, typically smaller units (4 x 4 through 16 x 16) purchased by network operators for incremental expansion; typically mounted on fiber distribution cabinet �intelligent shelves.�
2. As simple subsystems with multiple1 x N switches controlled through a standard computer interface for use in manufacturing and operational test and measurement.
3. As standalone systems, including light channel sensing/instrumentation, control electronics and software. (Only the switch matrix hardware value is counted in the ElectroniCast forecast).
4. Integrated into communication equipment such as SONET MUX transport terminals, digital cross-connect switches, optical add/drop multiplexers, hubs, routers, and other.
Last year, global consumption of photonic-switch-based balanced I/O switching and M x N matrices was estimated at $111.9 million. This includes merchant market sales and captive production for vertical integration into equipment production. Demand is expected to grow by an average 66% annually to boost global consumption to $1.4 billion in 2005. Beyond this point, Electronicast predicts growth to average of 47% annually, with the market reaching $9.61 billion by 2010.
�This growth will be driven by the need to implement switch functions that do not limit the capabilities of the optical fiber,� says Montgomery. Current O-E-O switch limitations include limited data rate, sensitivity to data protocol, complexity and cost for multiple wavelengths, high power consumption, and the inability to transparently pass all of the optical signals on the fiber. In addition, improvements in technology and manufacturing, such as MEMS-based solid-state switch maturation, will produce photonic switches with higher performance, higher reliability, smaller size and lower power consumption.
ElectroniCast Analyst Catherine Rondeau adds that solid-state electronically driven switches and switch matrices will expand strongly over the next decade. Even with this growth, she believes optomechanical switches and matrices will retain the leading value share, supported by low-cost MEMS switch element technology.
For more details on The Photonic Switch and Matrix Global Market Forecast, contact Theresa Hosking at [email protected].