Impact of US Technology Ban on ZTE

On April 16, the United States Department of Commerce announced that ZTE would no longer be allowed to import American technology products. This order represents a reinstatement of a previous order first issued in March 2016 and creates many issues for ZTE, its customers, and suppliers.

While there is no shortage of media coverage of the ban, Cignal AI aims to provide you with unique insight. We have assembled our observations and conclusions on this remarkable event, and we share answers to some common questions we’ve received as it has transpired.

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OFC 2018 – Coherent Technology

Trends in coherent technology generated enthusiasm among the participants at OFC 2018, and 400G ZR applications were of particular interest. Nokia and Infinera outlined next-generation coherent roadmaps, and Acacia and NTT Electronics showcased silicon fresh back from the fab. Many component companies announced smaller, lower cost devices to enable new WDM applications. In this report, Cignal AI examines OFC 2018’s coherent technology announcements and their implications.
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OFC 2018 – Consolidation

Each year, there is at least one announcement at OFC which surprises the industry. In 2016, the announcement was the introduction of Inphi’s ColorZ, while in 2017 it was news of Ciena choosing to license the Wavelogic DSP to module vendors. And yet, OFC2018 delivered a surprise that exceeded both: Lumentum will acquire Oclaro.
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Investor Call – Piper Jaffray Optical Event

Andrew Schmitt was the featured speaker on an investor call hosted by Troy Jensen of Piper Jaffray on February 21st. Forty-four participants listened in and posed their questions as Andrew gave his perspective on the latest events in the optical component and equipment market.

Topics during the call included:

  • Anticipated impact of China’s MIIT plan on existing component suppliers
  • The divergence in Chinese equipment revenue and supply chain
  • The market outlook for ROADMs in 2018
  • The 400G+ Coherent DSP and component outlook
  • The evolution of the CFP2-ACO and DCO market
  • Analysis of equipment companies outsourcing DSPs
  • Update on Inphi’s ColorZ, modulator driver, and PAM-4 business
  • Infinera’s market opportunity with the CX2 and ICE4 based products
  • North American CapEx in 2018 and optical equipment forecast
  • Ciena’s 400G market monopoly in 2018

Active Insight clients can access a summary of the key takeaways, a written transcript, an audio replay, and participate in Q&A.

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China’s 5 Year Optical Component Plan

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released a five-year plan in December 2017 outlining a roadmap for commercial and technological progress in a broad set of optical technologies. The 63-page document is in Chinese. The following Cignal AI report is based on a professionally translated version of the document and summarizes the section of the plan about the Chinese optical component industry.

The goals and objectives outlined in the plan are exceptionally ambitious and should concern incumbent component vendors. This document outlines strategic rather than rational economic objectives to catalyze market progress in Chinese component companies. Our interpretation is that this will increase the number of non-rational economic actors participating in the component market.

If executed, this plan will greatly increase the level of competition in an already fractured industry.  It will also reduce or in some cases eliminate access for western component vendors to the largest market for optical communications components in the world – China.

Electronic copies of the source MIIT document as well as the translated version of the section on optical components are available to clients for download.

Chinese PDF English PDF

 

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ECOC 2017 – China Observations

This is Cignal AI’s second ECOC 2018 brief, focused on news out of China.

Topics include:

  • China Inventory and 2018 Demand
  • Ciena Wavelogic AI Licensing Update
  • China ROADM Deployment Outlook
  • Huawei 100G+ Coherent Technology Roadmap

Our first brief, issued on October 3rd, focused on coherent 100G+ technology updates.

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China ROADM Deployment Outlook

After much of the world already transitioned to all-optically switched ROADM networks, Chinese network operators are preparing to follow suit. Most networks outside of China used optical switching as early as a decade ago, yet China chose to deploy massive electrical OTN switches instead, powered by technology from Huawei and ZTE. But now the writing’s on the wall; electrical switching can no longer scale to the sizes needed by China Mobile and China Telecom, and these operators are now moving forward with ROADM optical switching.

This transition will unfold with a different timeline than Cignal AI initially anticipated and we have updated our position on China’s 2017 ROADM deployment. Instead of pursing rapid deployment, Chinese operators will take a more conservative stand by minimizing the deployment of conventional ROADM architectures during 2017 and 2018.

In this report, Cignal AI examines what technology China has deployed to date, outlines changes in ROADM architectures, and explores the ripple impact on the optical component and semiconductor supply chain.
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OFC 2017 – Inside the Datacenter

100G and the Road to 400G

The transition to 100G network speeds inside the data center is underway at every major hyperscale operator simultaneously, creating major industry bottlenecks. Despite QSFP28 being supply constrained, component and equipment suppliers are also trying to align on the next generation format for 400G operation. Cignal AI’s key takeaways from OFC 2017 with regard to data center optics include:

  • Updates on QSFP28 supply and demand
  • Alternative facts on both sides of the Octal SFP (OSFP) vs. QSFP DD debate
  • Impact of QSFP28 on CFP/CFP2 client demand
  • 400G CFP8 and 200G QSFP observations and outlook

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Investor Call – OFC 2017 Takeaways

Andrew Schmitt provided key OFC 2017 takeaways during an investor call hosted by Troy Jensen of Piper Jaffray. Sixty-seven investors participated. Topics of interest included:

  • Impact of Ciena’s Wavelogic AI DSP Licensing
  • Outlook for Coherent Port Shipments in China During 2017
  • Market Outlook for CFP2-ACO/DCO and QSFP28 Markets
  • Potential Vertical Integration by Intel or InPhi
  • Timing of Metro Coherent and ROADM deployment in China
  • Chinese SARFT Capex Guidance
  • Roadmap for 400G and 600G Coherent
  • Observations on Infinera, Ciena, Acacia, Oclaro, and Neophotonics

Following is a summary of the key takeaways, as well as a full transcript of the discussion. Cignal AI clients can also listen to an audio replay.

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Investor Call – China 2017, CFP2-ACO, Coherent DSPs

Andrew Schmitt gave an update on the optical equipment and component market during an investor call hosted by Troy Jensen of Piper Jaffray on Tuesday, October 4. Sixty-eight investors participated. An extended Q&A session followed Andrew’s presentation, and topics of interest included:

  • China 100G port volume trends for 2H16 and 2017
  • Huawei’s upcoming 100G technology decisions and supplier purchasing shifts
  • CFP2-ACO shipments and the component & equipment supply chain for this product
  • Coherent DSP R&D developments and supplier updates
  • Updates on direct-detect 100G and PAM-4 development
  • Observations on Infinera, Ciena, Acacia, Inphi, and Clariphy and discussion of potential M&A activity

Following is a summary of the key takeaways, as well as a full transcript of the discussion. Cignal AI clients can also listen to an audio replay.

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Investor Call – China, CFP2-ACO, ROADMs & More

Andrew Schmitt created some excitement when he spoke about optical component and equipment market trends on a Piper Jaffray investor call on April 22. 83 investor clients were on the line, and some insightful questions were posed to Andrew as he gave his observations on a wide range of topics. The following is a full transcript of that discussion.
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Optical Whitebox – OFC 2016

Component and equipment vendors outlined the investments they are making in anticipation of some service providers adopting open line systems or fully dis-aggregated optical systems. This is a contentious technology trend in the industry; one which ignites opinions and whose conclusion is far from clear.

After silicon photonics, this was the area of the most interesting activity during OFC 2016. It is a complex trend requires equipment & component vendors to pivot both their hardware architectures and business models to address new potential opportunities. And it is far from clear whether this market will extend beyond the webco.

We review vendor activity and our observations of this market.
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