Optical/IP Networks

Who Makes What: Optical Components 2004

Optical components vendors have suffered enormous upheaval over the past few years, with the result that the competitive landscape has changed out of all recognition. Indeed, out of the four largest components vendors in 2002, only one – JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) – remains active in the market today (see Could Components Rebound in 2003?).

Many factors have contributed to the changes. Here are the main ones:

  • The emergence of independent components suppliers, coupled with the downturn in the market, has pushed many systems houses to offload their captive components divisions.

  • A huge injection of venture capital in late 1999 and early 2000 gave companies the chance to explore new product ideas, but money ran out before many of these products got to market.

  • Over-optimistic market forecasts led components vendors to over-produce their wares, which then ended up sitting idle in warehouses, and to invest in mass-manufacturing equipment that was never needed.

  • Priorities have changed. Carriers have realized that "all-optical" isn't the solution to all their problems, and are now looking for a combined solution that plays to the strengths of both optics and electronics.
All this adds up to a market that's tough to keep track of, especially in terms of which companies to list as potential suppliers, and how to compare vendors in terms of price, product performance, and so on. Which components vendors are the likely winners and losers of the future?

That's where this report comes in. On the following pages, we've identified and described 36 different categories of optical components, grouped under seven headings (one per page). Each page kicks off with a brief definition of the product group and then lists the vendors that fall into each category.

Your Input

As with other Light Reading taxonomies already published (see Who Makes What: Electronic Chips), this is just a starting point. We now need you to dive in and suggest additions, corrections, and revisions to this report, which is a living document. We'll update it regularly to reflect your input.

To make suggestions, we'd prefer you use the message board, so that everyone can participate in discussions. However, if you need to keep your communications private, please send them to [email protected] and include "Who Makes What" and your company name in the subject field. Feel free to go beyond pointing to company names we may have mistakenly omitted. We're also interested in suggestions for further product categories and refinements to the category structure.

Market Perception Survey

As with the chips and equipment taxonomies, this report is Stage 1 of a project. Stage 2 will be an online market perception survey that aims to find out which vendors are considered to be market leaders in each product category.

We'll roll out the survey once we've given you plenty of time to help us ensure that this report delivers the most comprehensive taxonomy of the optical components market ever published.

Click on these hyperlinks to go directly to the section of interest:


  • Ethernet
  • 10-Gig Ethernet/Fiber Channel
  • <2.5-Gbit/s Sonet/SDH
  • 2.5-Gbit/s Sonet/SDH
  • 10 Gbit/s
  • 40 Gbit/s
  • DWDM
  • CWDM
  • Cable TV
  • Parallel Optics
  • Tunable

  • Thin Film Filters
  • Fiber Bragg Gratings
  • AWGs
  • Bulk-Grating Muxes
Optical Amplifiers

  • EDFAs
  • EDWAs
  • SOAs
  • Raman Amplifiers
Switches & OADMs

  • Small Switches (1x2, 2x2 etc)
  • Matrix Switches (8x8 and above)
  • Reconfigurable OADMs
  • Wavelength Blockers
  • Tunable Filters
Signal Conditioning

  • Performance/Channel Monitors
  • VOAs
  • Tunable Dispersion Compensators
Sub-Assembly Components

  • Lasers
  • Modulators
  • Detectors
  • Wavelength Lockers
  • Pump Lasers
  • Couplers/Splitters
Fiber, Cables & Connectors

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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