December 2018 Active Optical Cables and Embedded Optical Modules
This two-part report examines the optical interconnect segments that have long served as data bridges between elements of large systems or clusters.
The active optical cable (AOC) product segment embeds optical transceiver technologies into enclosed cables that hide the high-speed optics behind two transceiver ends with an electrical interconnect presented to the outside. This factor enables creating high aggregate data rate links at costs significantly below that of two separate connectorized transceivers and fibers.
This report also examines the product segment that embeds optical interconnect technologies inside computer and communication systems with on-board or embedded optical modules (EOMs). As data rates continue to ramp, signal losses increase to the point that the effective reach of copper cabling and PCB traces on circuit boards shrinks considerably. Intra-system optical interconnects started at 2.5Gbps more than a decade ago and grew slowly to 10Gbps interconnect fabrics, enabling massively-scalable multi-chassis systems from supercomputers to core routers. Proprietary interconnects are now supported by embedded optical modules and MSA-based active optical cables and transceivers, such as CXP.
At 25Gbps and beyond, the amount of signal compensating electronics needed is growing along with cost and power consumption. When speed, reach, interconnect density and power limitations align to exceed the limits of copper, optical interconnects are finding use to support the next generations of system equipment.
Presented are data on annual AOC and EOM shipments, revenues and average selling prices for 2012-2017 and we forecast the market for 2018-2023. We analyze technologies, market trends, protocol transitions, data rates, MSAs for InfiniBand, Ethernet and other protocols. Application segments are reviewed in detail and 20 categories of products are individually tracked, forecasted and mapped into five application segments: HPC, core routing, cloud, telecom equipment and military/aerospace/other applications.
This is an update of the December 2016 report of the same name. It incorporates new information from numerous interviews across both the supply chain and consumption side of the industry.