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Optical Infrastructure Revenue will Reach $17.3 Billion

The worldwide Optical networking infrastructure market is predicted to grow from $13.6 billion in 2016 to $17.3 billion by 2021, according to the latest market study by ACG Research. Moreover, purchases of Optical Data Center Interconnect (DCI) equipment are expected to grow from $1.69 billion in 2016 to $4.3 billion in 2021. And, there's growth in all geographic regions.

In 2016, Metro optical increased 5.5 percent and Long-Haul delivered 10.5 percent growth. Asia-Pacific remains the largest optical networking region, with 10 percent growth in spending in 2016. Driven in part by Verizon network upgrades, the North American Metro Optical market will return to growth in 2017 after a slow 2016.

Optical Networking Market Development

ACG Research analysts anticipate worldwide Metro Optical spending to increase 9.4 percent in 2017. When combined with the 19.1 percent decline in legacy Optical infrastructure spending in 2016, total Optical infrastructure managed a modest 2.7 percent growth in 2016.

With legacy Optical now less than 15 percent of overall Optical infrastructure spending, the ongoing declines from the legacy Optical category will have less effect on overall Optical infrastructure spending and growth rates.

Looking forward, the five-year 2016 to 2021 Long-Haul Optical CAGR is 5.4 percent with revenue reaching $6.7 billion in 2021. The five-year Metro Optical CAGR is adjusted to 7.8 percent with Metro Optical reaching $9.4 billion in 2021.


Optical DCI equipment revenue was $467.1 million in 4Q-2016 and exceeded $1.69 billion in revenue in 2016 with 63.5 percent year-over-year growth. Looking forward, Optical DCI revenue is projected to grow at a 20.6 percent CAGR 2016 to 2021.

The fundamental underpinnings of DCI growth remain strong with increases in data center bandwidth, increases in service requirements for data center inter-connectivity and growth in the number of data centers worldwide.

Outlook for Optical Networking Market Growth

Over the forecast, ACG predicts the Metro Optical DCI growth rate will exceed Long-Haul Optical DCI, and SFF Optical DCI appliances will grow at a faster rate than multi-slot Optical DCI chassis-based solutions, although multi-slot chassis solutions will remain dominant throughout the forecast.

Pluggable 100G DWDM optical modules have undergone field trials and are moving into commercial deployment in the sub-80km Metro DCI space. New product debuts, product upgrades and pluggable solutions are all keeping downward pressure on prices for the SFF Optical DCI appliance segment.

Additional growth drivers beyond DCI for Optical infrastructure over the forecast include: accelerating 100G/200G+ coherent optical upgrades, mobile front-haul, 5G mobile backhaul and bandwidth expansions, multi-layer encryption or security and transport or multi-layer SDN.

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