New Infonetics Survey Ranks Optical Network Vendors: Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Huawei & Infinera get top marks!


Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its 2012 Optical Equipment Vendor Leadership: Global Service Provider Survey, which explores service providers’ perceptions of optical equipment suppliers and criteria for choosing vendors.

 Alcatel-Lucent receives the best overall marks from service providers, particularly for its technology, management, product reliability, and service and support.


  • Ciena is cited by service providers as a top vendor nearly as often as Alcatel-Lucent in the areas of 40G/100G+ coherent technology and OTN switching, and ties for optical control plane technology (Ciena ranked highest overall in previous surveys)
  • Huawei climbed from 3rd place in 2011 to 1st this year among vendors being evaluated for future optical purchases
  • Despite its smaller size, Infinera continues a trend of ranking relatively high in most optical leadership categories and has the best ratio of ‘evaluating’ versus ‘installed.’



For its 21-page Optical Vendor Leadership Survey, Infonetics interviewed 10G/40G/100G optical transmission and switching equipment purchase-decision makers at 20 incumbent, competitive and mobile operators from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), North America, Asia Pacific, and the Caribbean and Latin America. Together, the operators represent 28% of global telecom revenue and capex. The survey covers service providers’ familiarity with optical equipment vendors, vendors installed and under evaluation, selection criteria, and their rankings of vendors’ technology, pricing, service and support, product reliability, financial stability, management tools, R&D investment, and total cost of ownership (TCO).

Related Report:

In its  2nd quarter (2Q12) Optical Network Hardware vendor market share report, published August 24, 2012, Infonetics provided these key data points:

  • The global optical network equipment market—WDM and SONET/SDH—grew 15% in 2Q12 from the previous quarter, but is down 10% from the year-ago 2nd quarter
  • Huawei expanded its lead in the global optical network hardware market in 2Q12; Alcatel-Lucent held onto the #2 spot (optical revenue up 5%); and Ciena posted its strongest quarter on record, easily maintaining 3rd overall and edging into 2nd in the WDM segment
  • North American SONET/SDH spending is down 45% year-over-year, negatively impacting vendors with legacy revenue streams; AT&T, in particular, has cut aggressively
    • WDM now accounts for 80% of all optical spending in North America
  • Optical equipment revenue in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) was up sharply in 2Q12, but still down year-over-year; spending growth on WDM equipment outpaced SDH, a positive indicator for the region


“As much as equipment vendors talk about the importance of vendor financial stability, when we talk to optical buyers at network operators around the world, price and total cost of ownership (TCO) come up as the factors they care most about overall,” asserts Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research.

“The optical hardware market outlook looks decidedly different depending on which market you sell into,” notes Mr. Schmitt. “While spending on WDM is reasonably healthy, SONET/SDH is sailing off a cliff. Vendors who have good WDM products but large exposure to SONET/SDH are struggling to replace lost revenue fast enough to show growth.”

Schmitt adds: “Asia Pacific notched a big increase in the second quarter, with large seasonal gains by Huawei and ZTE. Despite tepid growth in the first half of 2012, we expect significant growth in optical spending in China, where ZTE continues to take market share from Huawei.”

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