The researcher has been publishing a report on the latest opportunities in the Active Optical Cabling (AOC) space for almost a decade. In this 2018 AOC report the researcher 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 AOC report is putting more emphasis on how the supply chain structure for AOCs varies around the world and who the leading players are for each region is. This includes special consideration of the market environment in China and a discussion of how Chinese firms are making their presence felt in international markets. 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.
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
3.1.7 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
3.2.3 Centera Photonics
3.2.4 Gigalight Technology (China)
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
3.3.3 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
3.5 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.4.4 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.9.3 Fibre Channel
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.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.13.6 Rest of world
In its just-released report, “Active Optical Cables: Markets and Opportunities, 2018-2027" 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 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.
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.