Silicon Photonics Fast Becoming Commercial Reality

First-generation silicon photonics products are now available from a handful of suppliers, a development that promises to have major implications for a wide range of telecom and networking technologies, according to the latest report from Light Reading Insider, a paid research service of TechWeb's Light Reading.

Silicon Photonics: A Market Takes Shape analyzes the short- and long-term prospects for the silicon photonics market. It identifies and evaluates the early products now being brought to market, considers where the technology might go, and compares and profiles 11 vendors now leading the way in research, development, and commercialization of this new technology.

For a list of companies analyzed in this report, please see: http://img.lightreading.com/lri/pdf/lri0808companies.pdf

"The silicon photonics market is potentially enormous," notes Simon Sherrington, research analyst for Light Reading Insider and author of the report. "The technology is being considered for nearly every type of communications, including on-chip communications within computers, inter-chip communications, backplane connections within servers and switches, communications between servers and switches, connectivity in the consumer and business electronics environment, and the wider area for access network communications and metro network communications. The only places vendors are not thinking about using silicon photonics is in the long-haul communications environment, where the cost benefits of replacing optoelectronic components with silicon photonics are minimal."

Sherrington says the telecom and high-performance computing industries need silicon photonics for two key reasons: cost and capacity. "Silicon photonics has the potential to be cheaper than the electronics-based solutions for micro-, short-, and medium-range data transmission," he explains. "It promises to cost less in terms of materials, components, and ongoing power consumption. At the same time, silicon photonics offers a potential increase in communications bandwidth at cost-effective price points."

Key findings of Silicon Photonics: A Market Takes Shape include:

  • The most pressing need for silicon photonics is in short-range applications, such as within data centers.
  • Silicon photonics is likely to play an important role in metro and access network applications, but not until higher-capacity broadband services are firmly in place.
  • Makers of optical equipment are keeping their silicon photonics strategies under wraps, but they are likely to move quickly once commercial viability of the technology is established.
  • Silicon photonics has the potential to be disruptive in both the telecom and computing supply chains.

Silicon Photonics: A Market Takes Shape provides critical insight and analysis for a range of industry participants, including:

  • Telecom equipment manufacturers needing independent insight into current and potential developments in silicon photonics, as well as a view into likely timeframes for future product development in this sector
  • Developers of silicon photonics and photonic integration technologies looking for a concise evaluation of market positioning and likely market demand for their products
  • Network operators looking for an assessment of how the silicon photonics sector will develop, and how it will affect product performance and cost in the long term
  • Investors needing a better understanding of the scale of the opportunity that silicon photonics presents to technology developers and telecom equipment manufacturers

Silicon Photonics: A Market Takes Shape is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (12 monthly issues) to Light Reading Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).

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