Sales of fiber-optic test equipment exceeded 1.2 million units in 2018, and are estimated to register a 5.6% year-over-year growth in 2019, according to a new report by Future Market Insights. The fiber optic test equipment market will record a CAGR of over 6% through 2027, in terms of volume.
As cable operators continue to deploy fiber into their networks, fiber optic test equipment has gained vital importance in recent years, the research firm's Fiber Optic Test Equipment paper found. There has been a continuous search for fiber optic test equipment that is easy to operate, regardless of the intensity of exposure optical networking equipment undergoes.
Evolution in design and development of fiber optic test equipment continues, complicating test issues associated with advancements in optical networks. Automation remains pivotal for fiber optic test equipment market vendors to combat the growing complexity in optical evaluation. It is a key deployment and execution enabler for technicians, with these applications extending to procedure documentation as well as results.
Vendors in this space are adopting modular designs to complement interface flexibility, as these designs allow downloading software into instruments, enabling technicians to better perform tests from remote sources via cloud-based deployments. Portability aspects go hand-in-hand with vendors' modularity-driven efforts, empowering technicians to send results via cloud to a central facility for trend analysis or later evaluation. Moreover, fiber optic test equipment market vendors seek to simplify operations for cable operators by offering system-integrated lower-level test capabilities.
Optical light sources remain sought after
Sensing varied evaluations and associated complications within optical networking, fiber optic test equipment vendors have introduced an array of instruments -- ranging from optical light sources and optical power and loss meters, to optical time domain reflectometers (OTDRs). The study estimates optical light sources and optical power and loss meters in 2019 collectively hold nearly 60% volume share of the market. On the other hand, OTDRs will witness a relatively faster growth in demand as the industry increasingly needs key components that are traceable to calibration standards and cost-effective for outside plant (OSP).
Demand for OTDRs is expected to continue, as these offer relatively higher accuracy in optical power meter (OPM) measurements, the study found. This is particularly significant when OPM is used in combination with a stabilized light source for obtaining loss of plant in dB. Optical time domain reflectometers will continue to gain popularity as key instruments in testing, troubleshooting and maintenance, while evolving to meet current as well as future requirements.
Future is bright for fiber optic test equipment
As the evolution in automated, multi-purpose and cloud-friendly test instruments becomes palpable, the optical communications technology that cable operators have at their disposal will witness significant changes in the upcoming years. Although certain tests will remain essential in the fiber optic test equipment market, the way they are conducted and their targeted measurement areas are likely to witness transformations.
Key players in the fiber optic test equipment market are focusing on the adoption of next-generation PON technology, while network managers eye the shift toward distributed access architecture. This will result in notable developments in the fiber optic test equipment. Rapid advancements in the optical network space continue to put pressure on troubleshooting and deployment technicians. Fiber optic test equipment vendors are focusing on simplifying operational aspects for technicians, as new optical technologies gain significance.
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