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17 July 2012
The Optical Transport Network (OTN) transport and switching market is forecast to grow at a 17% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2011 to 2016, outpacing the 5.5% growth of the optical equipment market (WDM, SONET/SDH). So says the latest study on the OTN equipment marketplace by Infonetics Research.

"OTN is on the fast track to outpace the overall optical market within the next five years," said Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. "Nearly half of all 2011 optical equipment spending worldwide was on OTN transport and switching hardware, and by 2016 we expect this to rise to almost 80%."

According to Schmitt, OTN should be viewed as the carrier transport protocol for the foreseeable future. For many carriers, OTN will be used not just for carrying a single packet client, but for interleaving multiple clients onto the same wavelength, requiring OTN switching.
Infonetics anticipates fierce competition between the vendors of packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) that that combine SONET/SDH and/or OTN switching with higher, layer 2 functions such as Ethernet, MPLS-TP, and other circuit-oriented Ethernet (COE) protocols. 
Cisco, Tellabs and Alcatel-Lucent are the top three vendors, but Fujitsu, Ciena and Huawei are gaining market share.  In metro-regional applications, items like 100G optics and OTN switching will be more important, but closer to the edge OTN switching will have no importance and everything will depend on the layer 2 and layer 0 features. In the latter category, Infonetics says the companies to watch are BTI Photonics, Cyan, Transmode and ADVA Optical Networking.
By Roy Rubenstein