Active Optical Cables: Markets and Opportunities: 2018-2027

CIR has been publishing a report on the latest opportunities in the Active Optical Cabling (AOC) space for almost a decade.  In our 2018 AOC report CIR projects the future of the AOC market, focusing on how AOCs are adapting to current technical and market trends.  The report is particularly concerned with how AOCs and embedded optics will coexist and how AOCs will fit in with current data center trends; both the huge data centers that the cloud service providers are building and the smaller enterprise data centers that are resulting from the rise of the cloud itself.  We also take a look at how AOCs can increasingly be messaged as part of power consumption strategy for data centers, replacing the old story of AOCs replacing bulky copper IB cables.

In this year’s report CIR is putting more emphasis on how the supply chain structure for AOCs varies around the world and who are the leading players are for each region.  As with our previous reports on AOCs, this report also includes analyses of how AOCs are being adapted to the latest MSAs, especially those at 100 Gbps and 400 Gbps, and whether AOCs will ever emerge as a consumer electronics item – a long promised development.

This report provides an insider perspective on what’s next in the AOC business.  It is strongly focused on business strategy and examines all the important marketing issues faced by the AOC market. The report also profiles all the leading suppliers of AOCs 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.

Executive Summary

  • E.1 The changing value proposition for AOCs
  • E.1.1 What is today’s competition for AOCs: Is copper still a factor?
  • E.2 The China factor
  • E.2.1 Chinese suppliers: Will they ultimately dominate the AOC market?
  • E.2.2 The Chinese domestic market for AOCs
  • E.2.3 How big can the Chinese share of the AOC market grow?
  • E.3 Data and the single-mode AOC
  • E.4 AOCs, embedded optics and the latest MSAs
  • E.5 Branding and product differentiation in the AOC business
  • E.6 Do “consumer AOCs” have a future
  • E.7 Summary of ten-year forecasts for AOCs
  • E.7.1 Summary of AOCs by end-user type
  • E.7.2 Summary of AOCs by data rates
  • E.7.3 Summary of AOCs by MSA

Chapter One: Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to this report
  • 1.2 Objective and scope of report
  • 1.3 Methodology of this report
  • 1.3.1 Forecasting methodology
  • 1.4 Plan of report

Chapter Two: Key Product and Technical Developments Impacting the AOC Business

  • 2.1 Evolution of AOC products for the corporate networking environment
  • 2.1.1 AOCs and the 10G/25G server environment
  • 2.1.2 AOC marketing and design response to the upwards march of the QSFP MSA
  • 2.2 AOCs in the cloud provider data center
  • 2.2.1 AOCs, 400 Gbps and embedded optics
  • 2.3 Current expectations for the InfiniBand Roadmap: Impact on AOCs
  • 2.4 AOCs and storage
  • 2.4.1 Fibre Channel AOCs
  • 2.4.2 AOCs and SAS
  • 2.5 Video and consumer AOCs markets
  • 2.5.1 Will USB and Thunderbolt need AOCs
  • 2.5.2 Will there ever be a mass market for consumer and video AOCs
  • 2.6 Hybrid AOCs
  • 2.7 Summary of Key Points Made in this Chapter

Chapter Three: AOCs: Evolving Supply Chains

  • 3.1 Data center AOCs: US suppliers and strategies
  • 3.1.1 Supply chain structure: retail and wholesale outlets
  • 3.1.2 Broadcom/Foxconn Interconnect Technology
  • 3.1.3 Finisar
  • 3.1.4 Intel
  • 3.1.5 Molex
  • 3.1.6 Samtec
  • 3.1.7 Siemon
  • 3.1.7 Other suppliers
  • 3.1.8 Role of Chinese suppliers in the US market
  • 3.2 Data center AOCs: Markets and suppliers in China
  • 3.2.1 Distribution arrangements for data center AOCs in China
  • 3.2.2 3c-Link
  • 3.2.3 Centera Photonics
  • 3.2.4 Gigalight Technology (China
  • 3.2.5 Gtek
  • 3.2.6 AOCs in the context of Chinese industrial policy
  • 3.3 Data center AOCs: Rest of APAC
  • 3.3.1 Distribution arrangements for data center AOCs in Japan and South Korea
  • 3.3.2 Fujitsu
  • 3.3.3 Role of Chinese suppliers in other Asian nations
  • 3.4 Data center AOCs: Europe and the Middle East
  • 3.4.2 Data center AOCs: Suppliers and supply chains in Europe
  • 3.4.3 Competition between Chinese and US AOC suppliers in Europe
  • 3.4.1 Distribution arrangements for data center AOCs in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Region
  • 3.4.2 AOC markets in Israel
  • 3.4.3 Mellanox
  • 3.5 Niche markets for AOCs
  • 3.5.1 Digital signage: Supply chain structure
  • 3.5.2 Consumer and video AOCs: Supply chain structure
  • 3.5.3 AOCs in the campus and telecom environment
  • 3.6 Summary of key points made in this chapter

Appendix A: Ten-Year Forecasts of AOC Markets

  • A.1 Sources of data and forecasting methodology
  • A.2 Pricing assumptions and forecast
  • A.4 Forecast of addressable markets for AOCs by application/end-user type
  • A.4.1 Inter-router and switch-to-router
  • A.4.2 Rack-to-rack
  • A.4.3 HPC
  • A.4.4 Storage networks
  • A.4.5 Digital signage: Connections to content sources and control centers
  • A.4.6 Consumer and video AOCs: Display extenders, video editing, gaming, etc.
  • A.5.7 Military and secure networks
  • A.5.8 Telecom and campus networks
  • A.6 Forecast of AOC penetration by addressable market/end-user type
  • A.7 Forecast of AOC installed base by addressable market/end-user type
  • A.8 Forecast of AOC shipments by addressable market/end user type
  • A.9 Forecast of AOC shipments and revenues by networking protocol/connector type and cable lengths
  • A.9.1 Ethernet
  • A.9.2 InfiniBand
  • A.9.3 Fibre Channel
  • A.9.4 HDMI
  • A.9.5 Thunderbolt
  • A.9.6 USB
  • A.10 Forecast of AOC shipments and revenues by MSA and cable lengths
  • A.10.1 SFP and variants
  • A.10.2 QSFP and variants
  • A.10.3 400G MSAs and other emerging MSAs
  • A.11 Forecast of AOC shipments and revenues by data rates
  • A.11.1 10 Gbps and below
  • A.11.2 14-32 Gbps
  • A.11.3 40-60 Gbps
  • A.11.4 100-150 Gbps
  • A.11.5 400 Gbps and above
  • A.12 Forecast of AOC shipments and revenues by fiber type and cable lengths
  • A.12.1 OM1/OM2,
  • A.12.2 OM3
  • A.12.3 OM4,
  • A.12.4 SMF
  • A.13 Forecast of AOC shipments and revenues by geography
  • A.13.1 North America
  • A.13.2 EU and the UK
  • A.13.3 Rest of Europe and Russia
  • A.13.4 Japan
  • A.13.4 Korea
  • A.13.5 China
  • A.13.6 Rest of world

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