ElectroniCast Consultants, a leading market research consultancy, today announced the release of their annual report presenting their market analysis and forecast of Free Space Optics (FSO) communication links used in non-military/aerospace applications.
According to the ElectroniCast Executive White Paper: Free Space Optics Global Market Forecast & Analysis (2012-2018), FSO is a line-of-sight (LOS) technology that uses directed laser beams, which provide optical bandwidth Transmitters and Receivers to link voice, video, and data intelligent transfer. A single FSO link product (from point A to point B) often may incorporate multiple transmitters along with receiver/s to ensure adequate performance, in case of interference.
According to ElectroniCast, the worldwide consumption value of FSO Transmitter/ Receiver Link Devices used in stationary non-military/ aerospace applications was $29.83 million in 2012, a 13% increase over the year 2011. The Europe, Middle East, Africa region (EMEA) held a slight lead in terms of relative market share in 2012; however, the American region is forecast to grab the lead next year and the Asia Pacific region (APAC) is set to eventually take the leadership position by the end of the forecast period.
The increase in the consumption of FSO links in the America region will be attributed to not only continued upgrades and network facilitation in the United States and Canada, but also from the accelerating economic growth of major cities in Latin America. Other market dynamics in the American region are increases in communication links needed for growing infrastructures, such as mass transit, security systems, broadcast (TV) and telecommunications.
European inner-city urban areas typically are relatively difficult for wire-lines, including optical fiber cable installations; therefore, this fact promotes FSO or other wireless solutions.
The APAC region has advanced communication technology deployed especially in Japan; however, other countries, such as Australia, China and India, are not as advanced in campus-wide and metropolitan optical communication deployment. The APAC region has rapidly expanding market opportunities and therefore, the firm’s forecast shows the region with the fastest annual growth (2012-2018); see Figure.
Typically optical communication systems rely on optical fibers between transmitter and receiver, but free space optical communications (optical wireless) systems do not have the limitations associated with the installation and maintenance of such guided wave optical communication systems. FSO can be deployed in a matter of days, there are no reoccurring monthly costs and has limited (if any) rights of way (ROW) issues to negotiate with municipalities or businesses; however, carriers typically require stringent back-up or alternative technical redundancy, which is one huge roadblock to carrier acceptance.
Selected FSO system providers claim that their solutions can provide “carrier-class” availability even in adverse weather conditions, such as extreme temperatures, rain, fog, smog, snow, a flock of birds, etc. Solutions are often addressed through redundant, but alternative technologies, such as Radio Frequency (RF) hybrid approach.