Sales of optical gear down sharply

The worldwide optical transport market will decline 23 percent in 2001 to $17.7 billion, following annual growth of 49 percent in both 1999 and 2000, according to the latest data from Dell'Oro Group.

Market growth won't return until 2003, the firm states, due to a decrease in the number of large-scale optical network projects caused by the reduction in capital expenditures by service providers.

Sales of dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) systems will surpass those of SONET/SDH multiplexers in 2004, Dell'Oro states, and will account for 56 percent of the market in 2005. The market for SONET/SDH multiplexers is expected to decline steadily, according to Dell'Oro, especially in long-haul network applications where competing technologies such as DWDM and optical switches will be deployed in increasing volumes.

Competing technologies are expected to outsell SONET because they make more efficient use of fiber. DWDM increases the capacity of fiber by pushing multiple wavelengths over a single fiber; SONET puts only one wavelength on a fiber. Optical switches combine DWDM and optical cross-connect capabilities, providing more functionality in a single platform than with SONET multiplexers.

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