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MEMS for Optical Networks Prevails Despite Telecom Downturn

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 30 -- Despite the downturn in the telecom market, the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based solutions for optical networking is moving forward at a rapid pace, with product offerings expanding beyond switches to include tunable lasers, tunable filters, variable optical attenuators and dynamic gain equalizers.

High-tech market researcher In-Stat/MDR reports that even though MEMS solutions are ready and the telecom market is not, the long-term opportunity for those developing MEMS-based devices for optical networking remains a positive one.

In its report, "MEMS and Optical Networks: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," In-Stat projects that, for companies that can wait for the market to turn -- sometime in 2003 -- the return will be significant. It said revenues for MEMS in optical networking will grow from $33.1 million in 2001 to more than $1.8 billion in 2006.

However, In-Stat said even though MEMS can bring many benefits to optical networking, misconceptions continue to plague the technology.

"Coupled with the fact that the telecom market has not bottomed out yet, short-term projections are grim. More revenue was actually generated by 3D MEMS switches in 2001 than 2D MEMS switches, although 2D switches shipped in higher volumes. Other MEMS components, particularly tunable lasers and VOAs, are moving into the market more quickly than MEMS switches," the report said.

For more information, contact Matthew Woods at 617/630-2139;
Apr 2002
CommunicationsNews & Features

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