Cignal AI: Modular Optical Sales Expand, Reaching Over $275M

Almost 30% of North American Optical Hardware Shipments Now in Compact Modular Format

by Cignal AI staff

Compact modular optical hardware is being used in more network applications than ever before, driving up sales during the first quarter of 2019 as reported in the latest Optical Applications Report from market research firm Cignal AI.

Compact modular optical systems were first used by cloud operators for data center interconnect applications but have since expanded well beyond into many other operators and applications. Market share leaders include the Ciena Waveserver, Infinera CX and Groove, and Cisco 1000 series.

The report illustrates significant growth throughout most regions as the compact modular customer base expands beyond cloud and webscale operators to include traditional telco customers pursuing network disaggregation. Compact modular hardware sales exceeded $275 million in Q1 and are tracking to exceed $1 billion in revenue this year. Growth was most pronounced in North America this quarter, where it accounted for almost 30% of the entire optical market and is expected to continue advancing through 2023.

“Network applications for the compact modular form factor have expanded well beyond the original data center interconnect deployments,” said Scott Wilkinson, Lead Analyst for Optical Hardware at Cignal AI. “Applications now include traditional telco networks, metro and long haul deployments, and even some early trials for subsea deployment. We expect this spending trend to increase in 2019 as new compact modular products come to market from a variety of vendors.”

Cignal AI’s 1Q19 Optical Applications Report details market share for the first quarter of 2019 and provides forecasts in three key markets: compact modular equipment, advanced packet-OTN switching hardware, and 100Gbps+ coherent WDM port shipments across multiple speeds. Hardware and coherent port shipments are forecasted through 2023. The Applications Report is issued quarterly.

Additional 1Q19 Applications Report Key Findings:

Ciena expanded its dominance in compact modular with over 50% market share in Q1. The combined Infinera/Coriant held on to second place despite declining sales.

Acacia [1] AC1200-based platforms are expected to have an impact starting next quarter. Cisco (which is acquiring Acacia) compact modular sales paused in Q1 in anticipation of the NCS1004 platform.

Note 1.  Cisco and Acacia Communications entered into a definitive agreement under which Cisco has agreed to acquire Acacia for a consideration of US$2.6 billion.


Almost 500k physical coherent ports have shipped in the last 12 months. Currently, over 70% of coherent ports are shipped by the top five vendors in the market.

After a 2018 recovery year, long haul port shipments are starting to pick up. Metro growth is advancing at a similar pace, as next-generation coherent enables an upgrade from 100Gbps.

Packet OTN growth is slowing. New deployments are limited to China and parts of APAC as networks in other regions evolve away from the packet OTN architecture.

About the Optical Applications Report:

The Cignal AI Optical Applications Report includes market share and forecasts for revenue and port shipments for optical equipment designed to meet the needs of specific applications: 100G+ coherent, and compact modular and advanced packet-OTN switching hardware.

Vendors examined include Acacia, Adtran, ADVA, Ciena, Cisco, ECI, Ekinops, Fiberhome, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera, Inphi, NEC, Nokia, NTT Electronics (NEL), Padtec, Tejas, Xtera and ZTE.

Deliverables include Excel files with complete data sets, PowerPoint summaries and Cignal AI’s Active Insight news reporting. Cignal AI clients with Applications report subscriptions may access this material on the Cignal AI website.

About Cignal AI:

Cignal AI provides active and insightful market research for the networking component and equipment market and the market’s end customers. Our work blends expertise from a variety of disciplines to create a uniquely informed perspective on the evolution of networking communications.

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