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Promise of Power Reduction but Challenges Will Limit Deployment

BOSTON (August 8, 2023) – Linear Drive optics significantly reduce system power by eliminating DSP functions from optics, but sizable business and technical challenges will limit the architecture’s adoption. According to the newly released Active Insight report “Linear Drive Market Opportunity,” only a fraction of Cignal AI’s 800GbE datacenter optics forecast will employ Linear Drive by 2027. Cignal AI consulted with component makers and hardware manufacturers to identify the benefits, barriers, and alternatives to implementing this architecture.

“There is tremendous excitement for Linear Drive architecture because it addresses the most challenging design problem for high-speed datacenter optics – power consumption – head on,” said Scott Wilkinson, Lead Analyst for Optical Components at Cignal AI. “But while researching the market opportunity, we found that market and technical challenges will limit Linear Drive optics to select hyperscale applications.”

Key Findings from the Linear Drive Market Opportunity Report:

  • Linear Drive offers compelling power savings, but competing solutions are being developed in parallel that will dull its impact.
  • Issues around switch chip support, system design, interoperability, and timing will limit the overall size of the Linear Drive market opportunity.
  • Given the amount of investment being funneled into Linear Drive, some modules will be deployed in niche cases within homogenous hyperscale datacenters.
  • Cignal AI anticipates that less than 10% of our 800GbE datacenter optics forecast will use Linear Drive.

About the Report

The “Linear Drive Market Opportunity” report is included as part of Cignal AI’s Active Insight research service. Companies that contributed to this Active Insight report include Arista, Broadcom, Cisco, Credo, Eoptolink, Innolight, MACOM, Marvell, Nvidia, Semtech, and others.

Active Insight reports provide real-time reporting on important developments in the optical market, including detailed analysis of new product launches, show reports, summaries of quarterly earnings calls, and vendor reports. This service is provided free of charge with subscriptions to Cignal AI’s Transport Hardware and Optical Component reports and is also available for purchase. You may view the archive of reports and can purchase by contacting [email protected].

About Cignal AI

Cignal AI provides active and insightful market research for the networking component and equipment market and the market’s end customers. Our work blends expertise from a variety of disciplines to create a uniquely informed perspective on the evolution of networking communications.

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