Active Optical Cabling Markets: 2013 and Beyond

Report # CIR-AOC-0313
Published Mar 28, 2013

Why this Report?

We are publishing this report, CIR third on the AOC space, because we see signs that AOCs are reaching their take off point:

  • This year sales AOCs will exceed $150 million for the first time ever. And by the beginning of the next decade, CIR expects the AOC market to be valued in the billions of dollars.
  • Large firms have entered the AOC market in surprising numbers in the last couple of years. These include 3M, Corning, Molex and Sumitomo. Avago a long-time dabbler in the AOC space has recently decided to become an active participant in it.

For the present, the bulk of AOCs are sold into the data center (and especially the InfiniBand) market. And, as has been the case for a couple of decades now, copper continues to do a good job competing with fiber, which tends to hold down the AOC market. Nonetheless, CIR believes that copper will have a harder and harder job competing with fiber  and AOCs in particular — going forward. On the one hand, today copper solutions for high-speed networks and data links tend to mean expensive twin-ax solutions, not economical twisted pair. On the other hand, the price of AOCs has dropped dramatically.

We think, therefore, that AOCs have an opportunity that they have never had before:

  • With 40 Gbps, 100 Gbps and high-speed InfiniBand moving into the data center, AOCs are looking like the way to go for network managers who want fiber, but don’t really want to become fiber technicians.
  • A similar trend is becoming apparent in the personal computing space optical extenders for the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces are now commercial products. CIR projects a particularly strong market for AOCs in the digital signage market where the trend towards the use multiple streams of video will soon overwhelm conventional structured cabling.
  • Because the addressable markets for AOCs in digital signage and the personal computing market is so much larger than the data centers, CIR believes that by 2017, the digital signage market will overtake the data center market in AOC consumption, with personal computer use of AOCs catching up with data center AOCs in about a decade.

About this Report

The goal of this report is to show how the AOC market will be able to achieve such successes and the economic and technological trends that are making it possible. The report is primarily focused on business strategy, analyzing each of the sectors in which AOCs are likely to find a market and identifying the main addressable markets. This report also takes a look at important marketing issues faced by AOC, such as the importance of branding.

The extensive supplier profiles in this report discuss the products that these firms are (or will soon) offer and include in-depth analysis of the strategies being deployed by major AOC firms including some of newer firms that have entered the market.

The eight-year forecasts in this report are based on an analysis of the growing need for AOCs in the data center/HPC, digital signage, PC interconnect and home theater markets. These forecasts take into consideration today’s major drivers for fiber optic deployment such as 3-D television, cloud computing, big data and the inevitable rise in processor speeds.

The forecasts are presented in both dollar terms and in terms of the number of cables and length of cable shipped. We also discuss which protocols will become dominant in the AOC space over the next few years, determining especially how AOCs will fit in with the rise of 40/100 GigE, HDMI, DisplayPort and the latest generation of USB.

Who is this Report For?

This report will be essential reading for all marketing and business development executives in the networking business as well as those that are specifically concerned with AOCs. It shows where and when the money will be made in the AOC market and which firms are most likely to capitalize on this opportunity.

The report will also be of high value to corporate planners concerned with the future of the data center, consumer electronics and personal computing spaces, and to investors operating in these industries.

Executive Summary

  • E.1 Changes Since Our 2011 Report
  • E.1.1 Everything Changes to Remain the Same
  • E.1.2 How Growth and Prices Have Changed Since 2011
  • E.2 AOC Opportunities in the Data Center
  • E.2.1 Big Data Boom?
  • E.2.2 Co-Location and AOCs
  • E.2.3 Market and Product Trends for AOCs in the Corporate Data Center
  • E.2.4 Opportunities at 40/100 Gbps
  • E.3 Opportunities for AOCs in the Computing, Consumer Electronics and Display Applications
  • E.3.1 AOC versus USB
  • E.3.2 Thunderbolt
  • E.3.3 LAN-On Motherboard (LOM) Applications
  • E.3.4 Active Optical Cabling for Board-to-Board Communications
  • E.3.5 3D, UHDTV and AOCs
  • E.3.6 AOCs and Home Video Production
  • E.3.7 AOCs, HDMI and DisplayPort
  • E.4 Active Optical Cabling in the Digital Signage Sector
  • E.5 Recent AOC Supplier Developments: Firms to Watch
  • E.6 Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Optical Cabling Markets
Chapter One: Introduction
  • 1.1 Background to this Report
  • 1.1.1 Why the Prospects for AOCs Keep Growing
  • 1.1.2 Evolution of the Addressable Markets for AOCs
  • 1.1.3 Rethink Necessary
  • 1.2 Objectives of this Report
  • 1.3 Scope of this Report
  • 1.4 Plan of this Report
Chapter Two: Active Data Centers and Enterprise Networks as a Market for AOCs
  • 2.1 Key Data Center Trends Impacting the AOC Market
  • 2.1.1 How AOCs Can Benefit for the Urge to Optimize Existing Infrastructure
  • 2.1.2 Big Data and AOCs
  • 2.1.3 Co-Location and AOCs
  • 2.1.4 AOCs and the Rise of the Port-A-Data-Center
  • 2.2 Evolution of Active Optical Cabling Products for the Corporate Environment
  • 2.2.1 AOCs as CX4 Replacement
  • 2.2.2 10 GigE and the Evolution of AOC: Developments Since 2011
  • 2.2.3 40/100-Gbps Active Optical Cabling Products: Developments Since 2011
  • 2.3 InfiniBands Future and AOCs
  • 2.3.1 AOCs as QSFP Replacement
  • 2.4 AOCs and Serial Ethernet
  • 2.5 Active Optical Cabling in the Campus Environment
  • 2.6 Summary of Key Points Made in this Chapter
Chapter Three: Active Optical Markets: PCs and Other Computer Applications
  • 3.1 Key Trends in Personal Computing Impacting the AOC Market
  • 3.1.1 Thoughts on Clouds
  • 3.1.2 The PC Communitys Many Interconnect Options: Why AOCs?
  • 3.1.3 AOC versus USB
  • 3.1.4 Thunderbolt
  • 3.2 Addressable Market Segments for Active Optical Cables in the Computer Sector
  • 3.2.1 Possible Uses for AOCs in LAN-On Motherboard (LOM) Applications
  • 3.2.2 Active Optical Cabling for Board-to-Board Communications
  • 3.2.3 Active Optical Cabling for Ruggedized PC Communications
  • 3.2.4 Active Optical Cabling in the Professional Video Community
  • 3.3 Bringing AOCs into the PC Mainstream; Thoughts from the PC Industry Perspective
  • 3.4 Assessment of the Active Optical Cabling Industrys Ability to Enter the PC Market
  • 3.5 Key Points Made in this Chapter
Chapter Four: Consumer Electronics and Other Display Applications
  • 4.1 Emerging Requirements for High-speed Interfaces in Consumer Electronics
  • 4.1.1 3D, UHDTV and What They Might Mean for AOCs
  • 4.1.2 AOCs and Home Video Production
  • 4.2 Active Optical Cabling and the Digital Signage Market
  • 4.2.1 Networking in the Digital Signage Environment
  • 4.2.2 Evolution of AOC Use in the Digital Signage Market
  • 4.3 Active Optical Cabling and HDMI
  • 4.3.1 HDMI Standards and the Path to HDMI 2.0
  • 4.3.2 Fiber Optics, AOCs and HDMI Extenders
  • 4.4 Active Optical Cabling and DisplayPort
  • 4.4.1 Fiber Optics, DisplayPort and AOCs
  • 4.5 Active Optical Cabling, USB and Thunderbolt in the Consumer Electronics Market
  • 4.6 Key Points Made in this Chapter
Chapter Five: Firms to Watch in the AOC Business
  • 5.1 10GTEK (China)
  • 5.2 3M (U.S.)
  • 5.2.1 3Ms New AOC Products
  • 5.3 Avago Technologies (U.S.)
  • 5.3.1 Avago Ramping Up Its AOC Efforts
  • 5.4 C2G/Cables to Go (U.S.)
  • 5.4.1 The C2G Trulink AOC
  • 5.5 Chromis Fiberoptics (U.S.)
  • 5.5.1 Chromis New AOC Products
  • 5.6 FCI/MergeOptics (France/Germany)
  • 5.6.1 Technical Aspects of FCI/MergeOptics Range
  • 5.6.2 The Future of FCI in AOCs
  • 5.7 Fiberon Technologies
  • 5.8 Finisar (U.S.)
  • 5.8.1 Finisar's AOC Product Range and Evolution of Marketing Strategy
  • 5.8.2 Technical Aspects of Finisars AOC Business
  • 5.8.3 Finisar's Future in the AOC Business
  • 5.9 Gigac Technology (China)
  • 5.10 GigaLight (China)
  • 5.11 Hitachi Cable (Japan)
  • 5.12 Mellanox (Israel)
  • 5.13 Molex (U.S.)
  • 5.13.1 Luxtera, AOCs and Silicon Photonics
  • 5.13.2 Molex Products
  • 5.14 OneStop Systems
  • 5.15 Samtec/AlPenIO
  • 5.15.1 AOC Products Offered
  • 5.16 Siemon (U.S.)
  • 5.17 Sumitomo/Emcore (Japan/U.S.)
  • 5.17.1 Product Evolution of AOCs and Thunderbolt at Sumitomo/Emcore
  • 5.18 TE Connectivity/Tyco Electronics/Zarlink (U.S.)
  • 5.18.1 TE Connectivity in the AOC Business
  • 5.19 VIA Labs (Taiwan)
  • 5.20 Volex (U.K.)
  • 5.21 Other Firms and Possible Entrants
  • 5.21.1 Potential for Start-Ups in the AOC Space
Chapter Six: Market Forecasts
  • 6.1 Forecasting Methodology
  • 6.2 Forecast of Active Optical Cabling by End-User Market
  • 6.2.1 Data-Center Applications for AOCs
  • 6.2.2 Digital Signage Applications for AOCs
  • 6.2.3 PC Interconnect Applications for AOCs
  • 6.3 Forecast of Active Optical Cabling by Protocols/Connectors Used
  • 6.3.1 Protocols and AOCs.
  • 6.4 Forecast of Active Optical Cabling by Length of Cable Used
  • 6.5 Summary of AOC Forecasts
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report
  • About the Author
List of Exhibits
  • Exhibit 6-1 Data Center Active Optical Cabling Market, 2013-2021
  • Exhibit 6-2 Digital Signage Active Optical Cabling Market, 2013-2021
  • Exhibit 6-3 PC Interconnect Active Optical Cabling Market, 2013-2021
  • Exhibit 6-4 Home Theater Active Optical Cabling Market, 2013-2021
  • Exhibit 6-5 AOC Shipments by Volume: 2013-2021
  • Exhibit 6-6 AOC Shipments by Value: 2013-2021

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