R-OADMs: The Key to Upgrading the Newly Merged Networks

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Market Studies
1394 Market and Technology StudyJust Updated & Expanded !
The Key to Upgrading the Newly Merged Networks

Updated: April 2005

Overview | TOC | TOF

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Early 2005 has seen the telecommunications industry turned on its ear by the announcement of major acquistioins. These acquisitions, regardless of the final composition, will virtually eliminate the independent IXC industry. The merging of the RBOCs' metro and short-haul networks with the long-haul networks of the IXCs will be one of the main drivers of telecommunications infrastructure changes for the next few years. The emerging availability of R-OADMs is very good timing because the RBOC-IXC mergers of early 2005 will require a great deal of network consolidation, and R-OADMs will be key. The R-OADM device offers the promise of substantial savings in operations costs, and many operational benefits.

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R-OADMs are planned to be systems that will allow the very flexible, remote selection of wavelengths transiting a given intermediate node on a fiber network for drop and/or adding. They will allow access to any of the wavelengths going through a node for use of the data on the chosen wavelength and the possibility of adding to, or modifying, the data on that wavelength for transmitting it on to the next node(s).

A number of technologies are involved in the R-OADM. At this point even the final architecture is unclear. The report presents three different architectures, with an emphasis on two of these - the 'small switch' version and the 'broadcast' version. Technologies involved in each approach are described. As more vendors are coming to market the broadcast version of the architecture, seems to be predominant.

There are many applications for the R-OADM. The applications of various degree nodes ('two degree nodes' for example have two fiber routes, three degree have three, etc.), that are common in the network are depicted. As will be noted some of these applications will have particular use in merging the long-haul networks of the IXCs and the metro networks of the RBOCs.

The main market driver for R-OADMs is the desire to save operating expenses by the carriers. In addition, the forecast increase (by some) in wavelength services is going to greatly facilitate the deployment of networks based on R-OADMs.

This newest report from the Lightwave Series, "R-OADMs - The Key to Upgrading the Newly Merged Networks" is the definitive report on Reconfigurable Optical Add Drop Multiplexers (R-OADMs). These devices are finally going to answer all carriers' desires to be able to control optical domain networks with the same flexibility and ease, as they are familiar with in SONET oriented networks. R-OADMs will provide all of the capacity of wavelength engineering with the ease and familiarity of SONET! These devices will usher in the truly intelligent optical network era.

R-OADMs will be systems that allow the very flexible, remote selection of wavelengths transiting a given intermediate node on a fiber network for drop and/or adding.

  • They will allow access to any of the wavelengths going through a given node.
  • They will allow the use of the data on the chosen wavelength and possibly adding to or modifying the data on that wavelength for transmitting on to the next node(s).
  • All of this can be done without impacting the through wavelengths in any way.

Report Details

In many ways, the predecessor to this report (only a year ago) was a report about a device that didn't exist; whose technology was unselected; and whose market was very unclear. While a few of the smaller DWDM system vendors had a Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (R-OADM) offering, none of the major vendors (90%, or so, of the total market) had yet announced a product. Now a year later, every major system vendor has an R-OADM offering, and more are on the way.

This is an update of an earlier report on the same subject from IGI. The previous report was entitled "R-OADMs - Still with Us in 2004!" This report contains completely new forecast scenarios, expanded technical material, many added vendors, and updates on deployment activities since the previous work. It also includes new material on Wavelength Selective Switches, and many more figures, explaining the various types of approaches available for R-OADMS. This is a completely stand-alone report, containing all of the background material from the earlier report.

In preparing this update, the author spoke with executive representatives of the major vendors in this area and had input from major prospective users. This input was used to sharpen the focus of the forecasts from the previous report. that input was also used to improve the scenario that was the basis of our forecast.

While the telecom depression has eliminated (or at least dramatically postponed) a number of promised technologies and devices, the R-OADM is still clearly in the telecom future. It has the advantage of being an operations cost saver, and as such will endure when other enhancements may not. Indeed, the flexibility offered by the R-OADM is desire by all network operators. The only impediment is determining how to begin deployment.

The market forecasts included in the report are very comprehensive, including various types of R-OADMs, as well as forecasts for the major sub-systems and components of R-OADMs. Both US and Global forecasts are provided and units as well as market totals are included. All of theses forecasts are based on discussions with industry participants as well as on the author's extensive experience in the industry. A comprehensive model for development (a time schedule for significant events) of the R-OADM market is the prime driver of the forecasts. This model is explained in detail in the report.  

This report covers all aspects of this rapidly developing product line. Included are:

  • Full description of the R-OADM and its relationship to other network elements.
  • Detailed analysis of the application possibilities for R-OADMs
  • Discussion of how the R-OADM will facilitate merging RBOC metro networks with IXC long-haul networks.
  • Discussion of all the technologies and architectures considered for implementing R-OADMs. (Switch based, Broadcast, and WSS)
  • Discussion and analysis of the market drivers for R-OADMs.
  • A detailed model for the market development of R-OADMs, with input from major carriers and vendors.
  • Detailed US and Global forecasts for R-OADM markets, both on a unit basis and a dollar basis.
  • Forecasts for US and Global components resulting from R-OADM development and deployment.
  • Sensitivity analysis for market forecasts.
  • Listing and discussion of the major vendors involved in R-OADMs both at the component and system level.
  • A compilation of which vendors are following each of the candidate architectures.
All sections are profusely illustrated with original drawings, tables, and charts.

    Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    Table of Figures

    The Lightwave Network Series of Reports

    Executive Summary


    R-OADM - Description and Applications

    Switches by Any Other Name

    "Switch" Types


    TDM Switches


    IP Switches


    DACS and R-OADMs

    Drivers to DACS Deployment

    ADMs - the Key SONET Functionality



    OXC Based Approach to R-OADMs

    Implementing Cross Connects with Different Class Transparent Switches



    WICX (Wavelength Independent Cross-Connect)

    Small Switch Approach to R-OADMs

    Broadcast Approach to R-OADMs

    Wavelength Selective Switches (WSS)

    Summary of R-OADM Types

    Summary of R-OADM Description


    Switches and Blocker


    Approaches to MEMS

    Digital Approach

    Analog Approach

    One Dimension MEMS

    Grating Light Valve (GLV)

    Liquid Crystal

    LQ Uses

    Fiber Bragg Grating


    AWG Devices

    Etched Waveguide Devices (Planar Waveguide Devices)

    Tunable Lasers

    Monitor Points

    Technology Summary


    Typical EDFA Site Replacement - A Degree Two Node

    Approaches to the NewRBOC-IXC Mergered Network Examples

    Market Drivers and Forecasts

    Market Drivers

    Opex Savings

    The RBOC-IXC Merger Driver

    Wavelength Services

    Market Forecast

    Forecast Methodology

    Model for Forecast

    Assumptions of Model


    US Market Forecast

    Global Forecast

    Sensitivity Analysis


    Assumptions for Component Forecasts

    Pricing for Components

    US Forecast

    Blocker US Market Forecast

    Mux/Demux US Market Forecast

    Tunable Laser US Market Forecast

    Tunable Filters US Market Forecast

    Switch Points US Forecast

    Monitor Points US Market Forecast

    Total Components US Market Forecast

    Global Forecast

    Blockers Global Market Forecast

    Mux/Demux Global Market Forecast

    Tunable Laser Global Market Forecast

    Tunable Filter Global Market Forecast

    Switch Points Global Market Forecast

    Monitor Points Global Forecast

    Components Total Global Forecast


    Component/Sub-Assembly Vendors

    Component/Subassembly Vendor Listing

    AC Photonics, Inc.

    Active Optical Networks, Inc.

    Aegis Semiconductor, Inc.

    Agiltron, Inc.

    Alliance Fiber Optic Products


    AOC Technologies

    Auxora, Inc.

    Avanex Corporation

    Avo Photonics

    Capella Photonics

    CoAdna Photonics



    Cube Optics AG

    DiCon Fiberoptics

    DuPont Photonics Technologies

    Emit Technology Co. Ltd.

    Engana Pty. Ltd.

    Fibernett. Co., Ltd.

    Finisar Corporation

    FOCI Fiber Optic Communications, Inc.

    Guangzhou Yongda Optical Comm. Tech. Dev

    Hitachi Chemical Co. America, Ltd.

    Hitachi Metals America, Ltd.

    Infineon Technologies

    Inplane Photonics, Inc.

    Intel Corporation

    JDS Uniphase

    Kaiser Optical Systems, Inc


    Lambda Optical Systems

    LightComm Technology


    Lightwaves 2020, Inc.

    Lynx Photonic Networks

    Mahi Networks



    Network Photonics (Not in Operation)

    O-Net Communications Ltd

    Oplink Communications, Inc.

    Optiviva Inc.

    OpTun Inc.


    Osaki Electric Co., Ltd.

    Paxera Corp.


    Redfern Optical Components Pty Ltd

    SDO Communications Corp.

    Shenzhen Hi-Optel Technology Co. Ltd.

    Sinclair Manufacturing Company

    Silicon Light Machines


    Stratos International, Inc.

    TeraXion Inc.

    TheFibers Inc.

    Topfiber Technology


    Valdor Fiber Optics



    System Vendors

    System Vendor Listing




    Corvis (Broadwing)




    Mahi Networks (formerly Photuris)

    Marconi Corporation plc

    Meriton Networks

    Movaz Networks



    Tropic Networks

    Appendix I - Listing of Acronyms


    Table of Figures

    Figure 1, R-OADM Concept

    Figure 2, SONET ADM

    Figure 3, OADM

    Figure 4, Improved OADM

    Figure 5, OADM with Limited Switching

    Figure 6, R-OADM General Configuration

    Figure 7, Fully Switched Approach to OADM

    Figure 8, Example of FXC Class Fiber-to-Fiber Application

    Figure 9, Example of FXC Application at 1310 nm

    Figure 10, Example of WSXC Application

    Figure 11, Example of WICX Application

    Figure 12, Small Switch Based R-OADM

    Figure 13, Detailed R-OADM Architecture

    Figure 14, Summary Chart of R-OADMs

    Figure 15, Detailed Small Switch R-OADMs

    Figure 16, Detailed Broadcast R-OADM

    Figure 17, MEMS Layout

    Figure 18, Sketch of Two Dimensional MEMS

    Figure 19, Sketch of Multi-Dimensional MEMS

    Figure 20, 1D MEMS

    Figure 21, Sketch of Liquid Crystal Technology

    Figure 22, Planar Waveguide Demux

    Figure 23, Technologies' Summary

    Figure 24, Three-Amp DWDM System

    Figure 25, 3R Intermediate Access Solution

    Figure 26, Use of R-OADM for Intermediate Site Access

    Figure 27, Degree Three Node Example

    Figure 28, Joining Two Rings

    Figure 29, Using Core Routers in Degree Three Nodes

    Figure 30, Using an OXC in a Degree 3 Node

    Figure 31, Using an R-OADM for the Degree Three Node

    Figure 32, Using R-OADMs for Joining Rings

    Figure 33, Forecast for Wavelength Services

    Figure 34, R-OADM System Unit Forecast - US

    Figure 35, US R-OADM as a Percent of Global Usage

    Figure 36, R-OADM Systems - Global

    Figure 37, Price Forecast for R-OADMs

    Figure 38, R-OADMs Market Forecast - US

    Figure 39, OADM vs. R-OADM Market - US

    Figure 40, R-OADM Market Forecast - Global

    Figure 41, Comparison to Other Analysts' Forecasts

    Figure 42, Sensitivity Analysis - R-OADM Market - US

    Figure 43, Small Switch Version of the R-OADM

    Figure 44, Broadcast Version of the R-OADM

    Figure 45, Component Price Table

    Figure 46, Components - US Units

    Figure 47, Blocker US Market Forecast

    Figure 48, Mux/Demux US Market Forecast

    Figure 49, Tunable Laser US Market Forecast

    Figure 50, Tunable Filters US Market Forecast

    Figure 51, Switch Points US Market Forecast

    Figure 52, Monitor Points US Market

    Figure 53, Total Components US Market Forecast

    Figure 54, Components Units Global Forecast

    Figure 55, Blocker Global Market Forecast

    Figure 56, Mux/Demux Market Forecast

    Figure 57, Tunable Laser Global Forecast

    Figure 58, Tunable Filters Global Market Forecast

    Figure 59, Switch Points Global Market Forecast

    Figure 60, Monitor Points Global Forecast

    Figure 61, Components Total Global Forecast

    Figure 62, Summary Table - Sub-system Vendors

    Figure 63, Summary Table - System Vendors