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Posted by Stephen Hardy

In light of today's announcement regarding the partnership between JDSU and Mintera, it's clear JDSU believes the 40G market is worth pursuing. This belief comes from the company's insight into the RFPs their system house customers are fielding, according to Director of Product Marketing Craig Iwata.

"JDSU is involved in pretty much every transport RFP that's out there. And they're all coming through with requirements for 40-gig," he told me.

While there's a difference between requiring 40G capability and actually fielding it, Iwata also told me that the market research community is backing this viewpoint as well. As part of the presentation he and Mintera's Niall Robinson delivered to me last week, Iwata said that when you look at the 40G line-side interface forecasts from CIR, Infonetics, and Ovum-RHK, the average unit CAGR for 2008 through 2011 is 100%, with their respective hockey sticks all taking a distinctly upward turn beginning in 2009.

Neither Ovum-RHK nor Infonetics have much on the public parts of their websites covering their 40G forecasts. You can find a little bit about CIR's view here and here.

As usual, the big issue will be cost, Daryl Innis of Ovum-RHK told me. "There's still a serious price problem. The cost of a 40-gig line card is something like five to six times the cost of a 10-gig line card. Until that cost comes down, that's going to limit the growth rate of 40-gig," he said.

I think there's mounting evidence that there will indeed be a market for 40G technology, particularly in the long haul and ultra long haul. (Which probably translates into a "good" but not "great" market.) Certainly 100G will eventually overtake 40G in terms of popularity, but that's going to be a fairly long time coming. The standards have to be put in place first -- and if 40G technology currently is 5X to 6X your average 10G system, one can only imaging the price differentials of the first and even second generations of 100G platforms.

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The Lightwave editorial staff uses The Lightwave Blog to share their thoughts on optical communications and whatever else might be the current topic of conversation from cubicle to cubicle. Feel free to add your own opinions.

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave, which makes him responsible for the editorial aspects of the Lightwave franchise. A technology journalist since 1982, he once had his job duties described as "gets paid to tick off advertisers ".

Meghan Fuller is senior editor of Lightwave. She has degrees from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and the University of Delaware and is a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation.