According to a new report from Frost & Sullivan the global fiber-optic test equipment (FOTE) market registered revenues of $586.1 million in 2006, up 4.4% over the previous year. Recovering from the relative sluggishness of the period 2001-2003, the market has experienced steady growth from 2004 onwards due to the positive impact of new technologies such as reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADMs) and growing deployments in access networks.
Frost & Sullivan analysts say ROADM technology has had "a tremendous impact" on the FOTE market in application areas such as R&D, manufacturing, and maintenance. And ROADM deployments are increasing, thanks to their ability to remote switch traffic from a WDM system at the wavelength layer.
Increased deployments in access and metro networks and the migration toward triple play are also driving demand for FOTE. There has been an intense focus recently on developing next-generation networks that combine data, voice, and video applications on a single platform. Several service providers haveI tarted offering integrated triple-play test devices that feature a combination of broadband Internet access, television, and telephony services on a single converged platform. This rising trend has given a considerable boost to the FOTE market, say analysts.
FOTE can be segmented into two types: dedicated instruments and platforms. Dedicated instruments refer to test equipment for a particular application or testing technology, such as optical time domain reflectometers (OTDRs) and optical power meters. Platforms, meanwhile, refer to a combination of several test devices in one box. As telecommunications networks continue to evolve from traditional to next-generation converged networks, technicians are also moving from TDR and DSL testing to OTDR, optical loss test set (OLTS), and optical spectrum analyzer (OSA) testing for the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) environment. The higher demands made on technicians are causing a shift toward integrated platforms, as this equipment provides both compactness and greater ease-of-use.
Although dedicated instruments have better testing capabilities, they are likely to experience reduced demand as time goes on and technologies advance. Currently, platforms generate approximately 60% of the market revenues, while dedicate instruments account for the remaining 40%. Frost & Sullivan analysts expect this trend to continue.