Active Optical Cabling Market to Reach $7.4 billion by 2023 says New CIR Report

Charlottesville, Virginia: In its just-released report, “Active Optical Cables: Markets and Opportunities, 2018-2027, Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) claims revenues from active optical cables (AOCs) will reach $7.4 billion by 2023 compared with $1.3 billion in 2018. Much of the growth for AOCs will come from the rush to install 100 Gbps inter-machine links and 25 Gbps server-to-switch connectivity.

Nonetheless, according to Lawrence Gasman, the author of this study, CIR’s forecasts represent a downward revision of its 2017 AOC projections.  “There has been considerable price pressure on AOCs as Chinese AOC firms have come to dominate the market,” says Gasman, “and “video AOCs” have failed to take off as once hoped, despite the recent upgrades of Thunderbolt and HDMI standards.

Details of the study are available at:

About the report:  

This report discusses applications for AOCs in data centers and enterprise networks (Ethernet, InfiniBand and storage networks); digital signage; and consumer/video electronics (USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, PCIe, etc.). CIR believes that although there may be as many as 200 firms selling AOCs, the market is now dominated by a small group of firms including 3c-Link, 10Gtek, Amphenol, Foxconn, Finisar, Gigalight, Mellanox, Molex, and Samtec. All of these firms and others are profiled in this report.

In this new report, CIR has included an analysis of factors influencing AOC supply chains around the globe. Regions that are discussed in depth in the study are North America, Western Europe, Japan, China and other Asian nations. The report pays special attention to opportunities for 400 Gbps AOCs.  According to CIR’s Gasman, “There are hardly any 400G AOCs on the market at present, but we will see QSFP-DD and OSFP begin to take off in 2018.”  He also notes that in a couple of years, embedded optics will pose a threat to AOCs at 400G and above and he wonders whether some kind of embedded optics version of an AOC might eventually emerge.

This report provides a complete insider perspective on what’s next in the AOC business.  It focuses on business strategy and examines all the important marketing issues faced by the AOC market. The report also profiles the leading AOC firms including established players, emergent Chinese vendors and the latest innovators, along with quantitative market shares of the AOC market leaders. Finally, the report includes ten-year volume and value forecasts, broken out by data rate, MSA, networking standards, fiber type and length of cable.

From the report:

AOCs are now widely accepted by data center managers for even the largest cloud centers.  As a result, the growing shift to 100/150G links for switch-to-router and router-to-router links will be the mass market for AOCs. By 2023, 100/150G AOCs will have reached $4.9 billion – more than 66 percent of the AOC market.

Although prototypes of 400G AOCs appeared three years ago, they were never commercialized.  However, AOC products seem to be predicted by the latest 400G MSAs and will be just in time for a 400G “surge” in big data centers starting in 2021 or so.  By 2023, the value of the 400G AOC market will be around $320 million.

With more large data centers built in China, we expect that country to be the fastest growing AOC market, with Chinese consumption of AOCs reaching over $1 billion by 2023. The Chinese domestic market is likely to be increasingly a captive market for local Chinese AOC makers.  Not only are Chinese data centers strongly encouraged by government policy to buy from Chinese AOC suppliers, but Chinese AOC firms are offering products with quality comparable to US suppliers.  It is interesting in this context to note that Chinese AOC suppliers are among the first to offer 400G AOCs.

About CIR:

Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) has published hype-free industry analysis for the optical networking industry for more than 25 years.   Our reports on short-reach optical communications contain the most authoritative market forecast and technology assessment available.

Visit for a full listing of CIR’s reports and other services.


Robert Nolan
Tel: 804-938-0030

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