In the Pixar hit movie of a few years ago Finding Nemo, the namesake's battle-scarred mentor in the fishtank Gill advises, "All drains lead to the ocean, kid." Nemo ultimately makes his way down the drain of a spitbowl in a dentist's office and Gill's bit of wisom is proven correct.
The fiber-optic component industry may have looked like it was circling the spitbowl during the economic recession, particularly in 2009. But the most recent report from LightCounting indicates that Gill's advice to Nemo might be slightly altered and applied to the networking industry: All communication paths lead to fiber, kid. "Optical connectivity becomes essential across a wider range of networks including data centers, enterprise and even wireless infrastructure as data transmission rates reach 10 Gbits/sec. This technological transition will drive the industry growth for many years to come," commented Vladimir Kozlov, LightCounting's founder and chief executive officer. "The industry is resuming steady growth that was interrupted by the economic recession of 2008 and 2009," he also noted.
The data-communications market segment started recovering in late 2009 and early 2010, LightCounting says, but growth in the telecommunications market started to accelerate more recently, in the second half of 2010. The research firm forecasts that sales of optical interface modules employed in datacom and telecom networks will increase by 10 percent and 15 percent respectively this year. Total sales of these products will exceed $3 billion in 2011, according to LightCounting.
The firm also said that sales of optical transceivers and wavelength selective switch (WSS) modules increased by 30 percent last year after declining 11 percent in 2009. Sales of optical components, reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers (ROADMs), pump lasers and amplifiers also increased at a pace faster than that of the total market, LightCounting adds. "This suggest that a new cycle in infrastructure upgrades may be starting now, since these devices are typically used in early stages of network installations," the company observed.
On expectations for this year, Kozlov added, "Plans for upgrades of networking infrastructure are being dusted off as economic recovery gains strength."