Increase in FTTx Projects Likely to Drive Significant Demand for Fiber Optic Testing Equipment

Worldwide fiber to the x (FTTx) projects continue to increase due to triple play service's huge requirement for bandwidth and the rising demand for last mile and access networks, reports Frost & Sullivan.

FTTx offers a reliable solution that provides high-capacity networks and services as well as a secure connection for telecommunications through the use of optical fiber instead of the usual copper loop. This performance reliability will likely drive significant demand for fiber optic testing equipment (FOTE).

New analysis from the consulting firm, World Fiber Optic Test Equipment (FOTE) Markets, finds that these markets earned revenues of $586.1 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $891.7 million in 2013.

"Migration toward triple play services and increasing demand for high-speed networks will likely create a need for more advanced and integrated FOTE," notes Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Lakshman Koundinya. "Fiber optics systems are considered cost-effective solutions for the high bandwidth capacity required to provide triple play services over long distances, and will drive the demand for FOTE equipment in the near future."

Additionally, countries such as India and China have exceptionally high demand for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). In regions such as Western Europe and the Middle East, demand continues to steadily increase. This regional growth will positively impact the FOTE market.

Triple play services represent the next big thing in communications and many service providers have already begun offering integrated triple play test solutions featuring broadband Internet access, television, and telephony services on a single converged platform. The growing video-on-demand services will likely generate massive traffic in the years to come and will require greatly enhanced bandwidth in the core and metro networks.

Furthermore, the development of faster networks and Gbit Ethernet, contribute to the tremendous pressure FOTE vendors feel to develop innovative products while constantly expanding their product portfolios to keep pace with evolving end-user needs. High bit-rate networks challenge equipment manufacturers to design and develop high-precision network elements and may compel them to increase investment in R&D.

While dedicated instruments refer to test equipment for a particular application or testing technology such as optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) and optical power meter (OPM), platforms combine several test solutions in one box. The gradual shift from dedicated instruments to optimized platforms represents a significant trend observed in the FOTE market.

With telecommunications networks continuously evolving from traditional to next-generation converged networks, technicians find themselves increasingly working in an FTTH environment performing OTDR, optical loss test set (OLTS) and optical spectrum analyzer (OSA) testing rather than just time domain reflector (TDR) and digital subscriber line (DSL) testing.

The testing changes have caused a shift toward FOTE integrated platforms since they offer both compactness and easier usability. Despite higher testing capabilities, the demand for dedicated test equipment will likely decrease over time.

"The shift from dedicated instruments to optimized platforms is due to converged networks requiring more than one dedicated testing such as copper and optical testing," notes Koundinya. "This is expected to drive demand for platforms in the future and lead to a decreasing trend for dedicated instruments."

World Fiber Optic Test Equipment (FOTE) Markets is part of the Test and Measurement Growth Partnership Service, which also includes research in the following markets: Latin American FOTE market and Chinese FOTE market.

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