LightCounting releases a preview of its market forecast and report on embedded optical modules, CXP, and CDFP-based interconnects for intra-system applications

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For more than a decade, the optical interconnect market has provided high-speed, intra-system proprietary links in custom supercomputers and the largest core routers. Data rates crept up slowly until reaching 10Gbps when consumption spiked, driven by IBM’s series of supercomputers. The IBM Blue Gene/Q series alone consumed hundreds of thousands of embedded optical modules (EOMs).

Currently, as the supercomputer market takes a temporary pause, Big Data servers and other systems are catching up with and adopting technology from HPC, creating a new source of demand for optical interconnects. As with pluggable transceivers, optical interconnects are also transitioning to 25Gbps line rates, creating new product opportunities for component vendors. The use of EOMs in the front panel ports of hyperscale datacenter switches will drive additional demand for optical interconnects.

But ‘optical interconnects’ are no longer just EOMs. System equipment vendors want MSA-based ‘fat pipes’ for proprietary interconnects in core routers and other high performance systems. This means the CXP MSA is finding renewed interest, and some EOMs will be replaced by CXP AOCs and CXP transceivers in the next wave of optical interconnects. Following CXP is the newest MSA for massive bandwidth: CDFP for 16x25G interconnects. While this could support future 400GbE links, it will first find use in the proprietary optical interconnect fabrics of multi-chassis systems.

LightCounting will discuss these trends and provide an updated forecast for optical interconnect devices in its Intra-System Optical Interconnect Report, to be released later this month. This is an update of the Embedded Optical Modules Report published in May of 2012, and incorporates new information from numerous interviews across the supply chain and consumption side of the industry. The forecast has been revised and extended to 2019. Product categories are forecasted by application to show the impact of these new sources of demand. Following a pull-back in 2013 to $96 million, LightCounting predicts steady growth in optical interconnect revenues, to more than $260 million in 2019.

To reserve a copy of this report, please contact Renee Isley at

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LightCounting is a leading optical communications market research company, offering semiannual market updates, forecasts, and state-of-the-industry reports based on its analysis of primary research conducted with dozens of leading module, component, and system vendors as well as service providers and other users. LightCounting is the optical communications market’s first choice source for accurate, detailed, and relevant information necessary for doing business in today's highly competitive environment. Privately held, LightCounting is headquartered in Eugene, Oregon. For more information, go to, or follow us on Twitter at