The growing efficiency along with miniaturizing size of the optical MEMS components has increased their market penetration in the communication industry. Technically, the advantages such as superior transmission speed of signals between ranges of transmitters within the optical communication network, which acts as the most promising technology to deal with logjams, especially in high traffic areas is a predominant driver, which is driving the growth of the global optical MEMS for communications market.
The increased demand of high speed internet services in the developing countries, along with the development of optical communication infrastructure are expected to be major growth drivers for the global optical MEMS for communications market, during the forecast period. The physical advantages of the optical MEMS, such as low cost design, mass production capability, and miniaturized size of the devices, are further increasing its wide spread acceptance in the communication industry. Due to the cost effective nature, and smaller size of optical MEMS, they are very well suited for the devices, such as variable optical attenuators, receivers, and transceivers.
Based on the various communication network types, the global optical MEMS for communications market can be broadly classified as wireline, wireless, broadband. The wireless communication market for optical MEMS is growing at fastest rate, mainly due to increasing application of RF components at various stages in the communication network. The broadband segment is another important market and accounts for a significant share. The growth in demand for optical MEMS in the broadband application is increasing, due to the replacement of typical quartz resonators with MEMS resonators, which in turn is fuelling the growth of the broadband segment in the global market.
On the basis of application, the global market can be broadly classified, as wave guide, optical connectors and transceivers, filters, optical switching, optical attenuators, and others. On the basis of technology, the global market can be broadly classified, as core optical MEMS and peripheral optical MEMS.
MEMS based variable optical attenuators is the fastest growing application segment in the global market. The high market penetration of optical attenuators in the recent years is mainly driven by the replacement of traditional technologies in optical communication networks, such as optical modules protection and optical power management.
The lack of proven testing technologies for the optical MEMS has led to poor reluctance and introduction of unproven technology, among the communication service providers. Moreover, the needs of new testing module for every new manufactured device have increased the manufacturing cost of the optical MEMS in recent years. Moreover, other competing technologies are acting as major threat for the growth of the market in the communication industry.
Micromotors, waveguides, Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers (SOA), along with advanced solid state technologies such as Lithium Niobate are gradually acquiring considerable market penetration in various wavelength, and complex switching functions. Earlier these applications were largely dominated by 3D optical MEMS.
Europe was the largest market, followed by North America in 2014. The high reluctance towards technical advancement and growing need for high speed internet in the developed regions has led to their market dominance. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing market, and expected to increase with a significant pace during the forecast period. The growing reach of communication services especially in the developing countries, such as India and China is expected to drive the growth of the Asia-Pacific optical MEMS for communications market.
Some of the competitors in the global optical MEMS for communications market are MEMS Optical Inc., MEMSCAP, Micralyne Inc., Santec Corporation, Opsens Inc., Capella Photonics Inc., Metconnex Inc., INTERMEC TECHNOLOGIES, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. and Calient Technologies Inc.