Forecast: Active optical cable sales up 30% this year

June 24, 2013
LightCounting expects AOC revenues this year to reach $150 million.

The active optical cable (AOC) market won’t see a replay of last year’s astonishing 65% growth, but it will continue to grow at a more than respectable 35% in 2013, forecasts a new report from market research firm LightCounting. The firm expects AOC revenues this year to reach $150 million, making 2013 the third consecutive strong year for AOC sales.

The market for AOCs has become crowded; LightCounting estimates 26 companies are active in the space. Applications have expanded as well, moving from high-performance computers (HPC) to traditional data centers with support of multiple protocols.

See: Structured cabling fending off active optical cables in data centers - for now

Last year’s major jump rode on faster than expected adoption of 14G InfiniBand FDR AOCs, notes the research. The InfiniBand market is the strongest AOC application; the segment has already moved on to 14G FDR QSFP+ fiber-optic cables. Traditional data centers, meanwhile, are sticking with 10G QSFP+ formats. Other protocols, such as SAS, Fibre Channel, and PCI Express, remain potential markets as their data rates pass 10G, LightCounting adds.

Additionally, video and consumer AOCs using Thunderbolt, HDMI, and USB protocols are reportedly gaining traction and attention from vendors. LightCounting admits to being surprised that Corning has entered the market. However, the sales potential of the optical version of Thunderbolt remains undetermined, warns the research.

Data for the report on AOC sales came from such manufacturers as Avago, Emcore, FCI, Finisar, Sumitomo, and TE Connectivity.

More: Silicon photonics to re-vamp the data center?

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