Report: Ongoing investment in Ethernet access devices belies claim that 'copper is dead'

Infonetics Research reports.

Infonetics Research has released excerpts from its latest Ethernet Access Devices market report, which tracks revenue, units, and ports and forecasts for copper and fiber Ethernet access devices (EADs).

People keep saying that copper’s dead, but it’s not -- it has a limited, but important, role for Ethernet services, as evidenced by the continued growth of EFM (Ethernet in the first mile) bonded copper,” notes Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research. “EFM’s high capacities and reach make it a useful and effective alternative where fiber isn’t justified.”

Related: Installation complexity challenges Ethernet access device market

According to Infonetics, for the full year 2012, the global Ethernet access device (EAD) market grew 3.5%, to $860 million, with growth hesitating as a result of economic conditions and a lull in carrier spending in the 2nd half of 2012. While 10/100M copper and 1G fiber dominate EAD ports today, the market for 10G fiber is also growing fast, and is forecasted by Infonetics to expand at a 117% CAGR through 2017.

Infonetics' Howard continues, “While fiber EADs represent the majority of the EAD market, we expect operators to spend a cumulative $1.5 billion on EFM bonded copper EADs over the next 5 years -- out of a cumulative $5.8 billion total for all EADs -- as they increase the capacity and efficiency of mobile backhaul networks and business connections.”

For the second consecutive year, the top 5 revenue share leaders in the EAD market were (in alphabetical order) Actelis, ADVA, Ciena, Overture, and RAD. The research additionally notes that, although in slow decline, Ethernet over TDM (EoTDM) bonded circuits will remain a niche market, providing an inexpensive way to combine several E1 or T1 lines.

Related: Fact: Fiber steadily eroding copper cabling products' market share

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