Total global revenue for the broadband access equipment market went up to $16.3 billion in 2021, according to a Dell’Oro Group report published today.
Fiber demand fueled market growth, along with passive optical networking (PON) infrastructure and fixed wireless customer premises equipment (CPE). Cable access concentrator revenue increased by 4% last year, totaling over $1 billion.
Total PON optical network terminal (ONT) shipments reached a record 140 million units. PON infrastructure and fixed wireless CPE made up 32% of global revenue, Dell’Oro Group VP Jeff Heynen told Fierce. Fixed wireless CPE revenue went up by 42% since 2020.
Heynen said the Gigabit Ethernet passive optical network (GPON) “makes up the largest portion of the market by far.” But the XGS-PON, which can coexist on the same fiber as GPON, is also gaining traction in North America.
XGS-PON can support higher speed 10 Gbps symmetrical data transfer.
The report also noted a steady increase in distributed access architecture (DAA), which helped offset declines in traditional converged cable access platform (CCAP) licenses. DAA architectures that have seen the most growth this past year, Heynen continued, include Remote-PHY, virtual cable modem termination systems (vCMTS) and particularly Remote-MAC PHY.
Cable CPE revenue, on the other hand, fell by 14% on account of supply chain constraints and an end-of-year slowdown of net new subscribers, said Heynen.
Fiber distributors are also concerned about supply chains. There is so much demand for new fiber projects and optic conduits that fiber lead times are increasing, Heynen said. Some of the larger vendors, such as CommScope and Corning, have seen revenues go down because they don’t have all the necessary supplies to meet demand for fiber network buildouts.
Companies that manufacture components for optical line terminals (OLTs) are also facing supply chain problems, said Heynen.
“If we didn’t have some of those concerns, you can imagine the overall market would have been higher,” he said.
The main trend Heynen wanted to highlight is that despite the slowdown in fiber infrastructure buildout, distributors have plenty of incentive to continue their fiber projects. The highest PON equipment spending came from the North American market, where expansion projects and fiber overbuilds are “picking up considerably,” he said in a statement.
Heynen predicts 2022 will see a slowdown in the number of PON-CPE and ONT units. Partially due to ongoing supply chain constraints but also because providers are focused on building out infrastructure first, before adding subscribers to their networks, Heynen concluded.