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The SCTE Cable-Tec Expo is the premiere technical trade show for North American Cable MSOs and has historically been oriented towards software (encoding, menu providers), analog hardware, outside plant, and HFC-specific equipment. Some optical companies have usually attended the show, as the MSO optical core is similar to any other metro DWDM core, but this year a greater number of prominent companies joined in. Vendors with optical equipment in their booths included Ciena, Infinera, Fujitsu Network Communications, Nokia, and ADVA, while switch/router companies such as Cisco, Juniper, and Arista were all talking about optics as part of their pitch. Even optical component companies like Finisar, Sumitomo, Menara, and Qorvo had spots on the show floor, and many of the optical booth technology experts noted that this was their first Cable-Tec expo.

Cignal AI’s 2Q18 Optical Customer Markets Report (press release) indicated that the MSO market for optical equipment in North America continues to be strong, with over 20% year-over-year spending increase. The market’s upswing is further reinforced by the burgeoning interest optical equipment and component companies had in participating in the show.

The SCTE Cable-Tec Expo highlighted the following factors driving the optical MSO market:

  • Fiber Deep
  • Native Optics
  • 5G
  • Virtualization

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