Good Forecasts for Global Optical Fiber Cable Market

An optical fiber cable uses light wave for voice and data transmission, its data transmission capacity is 4.5 times more than conventional copper cables. So in the past several decades, we have seen that fiber optic cables are superior to traditional copper twisted-pair cable or coaxial cable because of its unique physical characteristics, allowing information to travel at speeds increasingly approaching the speed of light without interference between adjacent wavelengths. In leading market, the global drive to implement FTTx into more new venues is good news for the market of optical fiber cables. Another good trend is that the price erosion of optical fiber cables had been 10 to 15 percent annually, in result that the demand of optical fiber cable is expected to continue growing in the foreseeable future. And the growing data transmission workloads placed by high-performance computers, servers and network storage systems is helping spur growth in the market. Consequently, fiber optic cables are now the indispensable backbone of today’s communication network. This article will analyse the global optical fiber cable market in three main applications, including long-distance communication, submarine cable and FTTx network.


Global Optical Fiber Cable Market to Grow at 9.8% till 2021

According to the report “Fiber Optics Market by Cable – Global Forecast to 2021”, the optical fiber cable market is anticipate to grow at a CAGR of over 9.8% during 2016-2021. The growing importance of cloud computing, data transfer & storage, and IoT is driving the use of Internet, which is driving the fiber optic cable market, as it acts as the backbone for data transmission. Moreover, growing technological advancements increase in number of connected devices and data centers are expected to positively influence global optical fiber cable market. In addition, next generation technologies such as LTE and FTTx, which require last mile connectivity, is expected to propel the demand for optical fiber cables in the coming years. All these factors have led to an increase in Internet users, which in turn has led to the higher usage of optical fiber cable to transfer information over the Internet, thus driving the fiber optics market.

Global Optical Fiber Cable Market

Global Optical Fiber Cable Demand from 2012 to 2018 (Source: Statista)

Optical Fiber Cable Market in Long-distance Communication

Currently, the growing adoption of optical technology in the telecommunications appears to be promising. Optical fiber has virtually unlimited capacity and low signal attenuation allowing long distances without amplifier or repeater, no exposure to parasite signals or crosstalk, and no electromagnetic interference (EMI). So fiber optic cable is especially advantageous for high-speed data transfer services in long-distance communications over electrical cabling. Furthermore, the increasing cloud-based applications, audio-video services, and Video-on-Demand (VoD) services further stimulate the demand for optical fiber cable installations.

Growing Need for Capacity

Growing Need for Capacity (Source: Goldmedia)

Submarine Optical Fiber Cable Market

Submarine optical fiber cables are undersea cables used for carrying data across interconnected networks between continents. With the advancements of technology, most of the submarine optical fiber cables that currently form the backbone of the Internet connect the U.S. to Europe and Asia by crossing the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Instead, there is a proposal for deployment of Trans-polar submarine cable system in Arctic Ocean. Laying an undersea fiber optic cable is meant to connect Asia and Europe by crossing the Arctic Circle – the shortest practical distance yet for Internet signals traveling between the two continents. According to the report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), cumulative installations of submarine optical fiber cables globally are projected to reach 2 million kilometers by 2020, driven by the growing demand for fiber broadband and the ensuing deployment of fiber optic cables in the Internet backbone. Presently, submarine optical fiber cables transmit 100% of the international Internet traffic, and more than 95% of the world’s combined data and voice traffic.


Submarine Optical Fiber Cable Market (Source: Technavio)

Optical Fiber Cable Market in FTTx Networks

In recent years, the market for optical fiber cable has shifted dramatically to local deployments, away from long haul and regional. This is the impact of FTTx, which calls for far more dense applications in neighborhoods, cities and other highly focused areas. Optical fiber cable is being caught up in the global move to broadband in the near future. The next generation of high bandwidth applications, along with the proliferation of connected devices, is expected to require faster and higher bandwidth networks which will require the use of multimode fiber cable for data transfer. This growth in the FTTx networks in turn is expected to drive the fiber optics market. Future Market Insights (FMI) forecasts the global fiber to the home (FTTH) market’s value will grow from $9.5 billion in 2017 to more than $37 billion by the end of 2027, a 14.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). In the leading Asian economies, more than 44% of all homes and buildings are already directly connected to the fiber optic cable network; in North America penetration is 8.4%, in Europe 5.6%.


Final Thought

Fiber optic cable is widely used for data transmission and is increasingly being used in place of metal wires because of its efficiency and high transmission capacity. Since the use and demand for great bandwidth and fast speed, there is no doubt that fiber optic transmission will bring more opportunities and be continuously researched and expanded to cater for future demands. However, although fiber optic cable in itself is considered a long-term stable investment, it also faces huge challenge. The major restraint in the fiber optics market is the growing use of wireless communications systems in remote areas.

Related Article: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Transmission

50µm and 62.5µm Multimode Optical Fiber: Which Is More Preferable?

Multimode optical fiber is a type of optical fiber mainly used for transmission over short distances, such as in a building or on a campus. Typical multimode optical fibers support data rates from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps over link lengths of up to 600 meters. It can offer reliable, flexible and cost effective cabling solutions for local area networks, central offices and data centers.

What Are 50/125µm and 62.5/125µm Multimode Optical Fiber?

According to the core and cladding diameters, multimode optical fiber can be divided into 50/125 µm and 62.5/125 µm. 50 µm and 62.5 µm refer to the diameters of the fiber core, which is the area that carries light signals. 125 µm means the cladding diameter of the fiber. The cladding confines the light to the core as it has a lower index of refraction. Cable construction is shown in the following diagram indicating the cable core, cladding and outer jacket diameters. Currently, there are four types of multimode optical fibers: 62.5µm multimode optical fiber (OM1), 50µm multimode optical fiber (OM2), laser-optimized 50µm multimode optical fiber (OM3) and laser-optimized 50µm multimode optical fiber (OM4).

multimode optical fiber

Why Two Core Diameters?

When optical fiber was introduced for 10Mbps and then 100Mbps Ethernet, light-emitting diode (LED) light sources and 62.5µm fiber were used. LEDs overfill the fiber core, so larger core diameters mean more light is collected, and thus data can be carried farther as shown in the following picture A.

In order to achieve 1Gbps performance, the light source was upgraded to vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL). VCSELs can switch more rapidly than LEDS, which makes them better for higher data rates. Moreover, VCSELs emit much smaller and more sharply focused beams, coupling more power into the fiber for greater efficiency as the following picture B shown. With a VCSEL light source, all of the light is coupled into the fiber, so a larger core diameter does not gather more light. In fact, a larger core diameter transmits the light less efficiently as a result of modal dispersion. Using 50µm fiber decreased modal dispersion and then increased the reach of 1Gbps fiber cabling.


Which Is More Preferable?

62.5µm fiber could support 2km campuses at 10 Mbps because more light for LEDs could be coupled into its larger core. And it dominated the premises market for more than a decade. However, with faster transmission rates and higher bandwidth demands, changing market conditions was imperative. So 50µm fiber has been established as the best solution for applications > 10 Mbps. The 100Mbps Fast Ethernet standard invited the use of LEDs that take advantage of lower fiber attenuation at 1300nm wavelength, which offset the LED coupling loss into 50µm fiber caused by its smaller core diameter. Hence, 50µm fiber could support the same 2km reach at 100 Mbps as 62.5µm fiber.

As data rates rise to Gigabit speeds, 62.5µm fiber is stretched beyond its performance limit because of its lower bandwidth at 850 nm. By contrast, 50µm fiber has as much as ten times the bandwidth of the 62.5µm fiber, which enables support of 1Gbps and 10Gbps applications. As 1Gbps and 10Gbps transmitters use small spot-size lasers, concerns over power coupling efficiency into 50µm fiber are no longer an issue. Moreover, the laser-optimized 50µm multimode optical fiber can offer the most secure and least-cost upgrade path to higher-speed networks as it is able to support 40 and 100Gbps data transmission.


As stated above, 50µm multimode optical fiber is more preferable than 62.5µm multimode optical fiber. Using 50µm multimode optical fiber can bring benefits of faster transmission rates and higher bandwidth. If you have not put 50µm multimode optical fiber into use, it is time to employ 50µm multimode optical fiber for higher performance on your network.