Spring 2021 - Optical Connections Magazine



There is an evolving market for tuneable optics/lasers supporting data centre connectivity, metropolitan connections and links to the edge, Antony Savvas takes a look.

T uneable lasers offer failed optical layers. And compared to fixed-wavelength lasers that rely on an intelligent network to switch their signals to termination, tuneable lasers ensure that the criteria for switching is inherent in the wavelengths. The tuneables market is a growing one as a result of rapidly increasing network traffic and surging bandwidth demand, driven by cloud computing, video on demand services, data the ability to remotely provision wavelengths, deploy all-optical switching and regeneration and provide restoration to analytics processing, the Internet of Things, the move to 5G mobile and the feverish building of hyperscale data centres. The “tunability” offered when easily and cost effectively adding or deleting/reducing bandwidth remotely is in turn supporting the growth of more on-demand services around the technology.

GROWING MARKET The global tuneable laser market was valued at $10.12 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach 16.79 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% over the forecast period, according to Mordor Intelligence. Those figures include the use of tuneables in not only telecoms/optical networking, but also in the manufacturing/ industrial, healthcare markets and other sectors. The major players in the market include the likes of Coherent, HÜBNER, Newport Corporation, Santec, Agilent Technologies, Daylight Solutions, EMCORE, Continuum, II-VI, Fujitsu Optical Components, NEC, JDS Uniphase, NeoPhotonics, Yenista Optics, Santur, Lumentum, Thorlabs, Sacher Lasertechnik, Nexus Photonics, NKTPhotonics and Acacia Communications (recently acquired by Cisco Systems). The overlapping optical transceiver market, according to MarketsandMarkets, is expected to

grow from $5.7 billion in 2020 to $9.2 billion by 2025 globally, at a CAGR of 10%. The optical transceiver market for data centres is expected to grow at the highest CAGR, said MarketsandMarkets, due to the growth of cloud storage and increased applications around machine learning and artificial intelligence, for instance. Optical transceivers are used in interconnect networks for connecting two or more data centres over short, medium or long distances, and also for intra-connectivity in data centres for connecting networks within facilities. The potential value in the whole tuneable laser market is perhaps illustrated by the three-way race to acquire leading player Coherent, which began at the beginning of 2021. Lumentum, MKS Instruments and II-VI all put in bids for the company. As of mid-March 2021, the industry was still waiting to see who would win out, but at the last count Coherent was


Q1 2021


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