In fact, a dominant theme is that the
market for optical fiber cable has shifted
dramatically in the past five years to local
deployments, away from long-haul and
regional. This is the impact of FTTX,
which calls for far more dense applications in neighborhoods, cities and other
highly focused areas. Savvy optical components vendors are making the changes
necessary for optical fiber to succeed in
these markets, including preterminated
cables and ultrabend fiber.
Optical fiber cable is being caught up in
the global move to broadband. There will
be a generally firm growth trajectory for
it over the life of this report. In fact, opti-
cal fiber production should increase from
147 million kilometers of fiber in 2011 to
204 million in 2017.
Inc., which was acquired by Microsemi.
Emcore says that it has shipped more
than 100,000 Emcore Connects Cables, a
feat that it says makes it the market leader
in active optical cables. Emcore Connects
Cables are used in interconnect applications, including high-performance computing, storage-area network systems, distrib-uted-grid networks, cloud computing systems and telecom data centers. The company says it was the first to bring optical
interconnects to the high-performance
computing market and has led the industry
in shipments of 20-Gb/s and now 40-Gb/s
“The real growth
potential is in data
centers using VCSELs
with multimode fiber.”
Active optical cables
Active optical cables (AOCs), a fast-growing market that started up in the
past five years, have a built-in transmitter and receiver, so there is no need for
Last year, the AOC market was in the
neighborhood of $50 million, with sales
in the range of 160,000 units. The market
will triple during the life of this report.
The market continues to be driven by
high-performance computers or supercom-puters using the Infiniband protocol and,
in fact, one potential area for enormous
market growth is data centers.
AOC vendors include Emcore Corp.,
Finisar Corp., TE Connectivity Ltd., AFL
Telecommunications, Molex Inc. (which
acquired Luxtera’s active optical components division) and Zarlink Semiconductor
The global drive to implement FTTX into more new venues is good news for makers of optical fiber
and related components.
Ultrabend fiber and cable
The rise of fiber to the premises (FTTP)
led to the need to toughen optical fiber
and cable as they got closer to the residence. Because optical fiber cable is
sometimes stapled to drywall in new
construction sites and treated by laborers
as any other type of wire, it has been
critically important to make the product
durable enough to withstand the strain
of such applications.
That need became particularly critical
as carriers began to install optical fiber
cable in multiple dwelling units, or
MDUs, such as in Verizon’s deal to bring
FTTP to the entire city of New York. It
also has signed deals to install FTTP in
other major cities.
OFS and Corning have shown leadership in this area, although all of the major
fiber producers have now come to market
with some form of ultrabend product.
Corning’s innovations are usually well
thought out, and this one was no exception. The company recognized that the
fiber market generally was moving to the
premises. As a qualified vendor for the
Verizon FiOS program, it also saw ultrabend fiber as giving it an opportunity to
lead when Verizon started the stage of its
program where it was bringing fiber to
MDUs. From an economic point of view,
Clearcurve also costs more than more
common types of fiber, increasing the
margins for this product.
OFS, a Furukawa subsidiary and the
second-largest maker of optical fiber
behind Corning, also has been an innovator through its EZ bend product line.
OFS said that the fiber has zero water
Prysmian introduced CasaLight Xtreme,
its “ultrabend-insensitive fiber,” in 2008.
It has a bending radius down to 5 mm, far
exceeding the requirements of the toughest
specifications currently used in the telecom