Photonic packaging – exciting opportunities in difficult times

Microelectronics International

ISSN: 1356-5362

Article publication date: 1 April 2002




(2002), "Photonic packaging – exciting opportunities in difficult times", Microelectronics International, Vol. 19 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

Photonic packaging – exciting opportunities in difficult times

Keyword: Packaging

Transmission speeds in optical networks have been increasing rapidly since the 1980's, with OC-3 rates of 155Mb/s becoming quickly replaced by OC-12 (622Mb/s), OC-48 (2.5Gb/s) and the now commonplace OC-192 (10Gb/s) transmission speed. BPA expect that within the next three years OC-786 (40Gb/s) infrastructures will begin to be deployed (field trials started late 2000), and research is already underway to understand the new requirements for OC-3072 (160Gb/s) networks.

Ever faster and faster transmission speeds allow a continuing increase of data traffic across networks. The well known dramatic uptake of internet and email usage across the globe is the driving force behind this exciting trend, with the result that data traffic is now already estimated to be up to five times the volume of voice traffic, with that ratio set to expand significantly over the next few years.

Although satellite links carry some of this data traffic, the majority is actually carried on a vast network of fibre-optic cables. These networks obviously require a variety of components to operate and ensure that data signals pass successfully. Important components include laser driven transmitters, signal modulators, signal amplifiers, optical receivers, switches and signal filters.

The recent boom in demand for optical network capacity, and thus the components to create it, has quickly increased the demand for photonic packaging. With the packaging currently adding up to 90% of the total component cost, there is great interest in identifying possible cost reductions while at the time maintaining or improving reliability and ensuring volume production demands can be met.

At BPA, we believe that the development of photonic packages creates many opportunities within the electronics market place. Even with the current economic downturn, the opto-electronic market is still growing in some product/market sectors, albeit at a much slower rate than the last two years. However there are a number of obstacles to be climbed. BPA's study, "Photonic Packaging - Global Trends and Markets 2000-2005" will provide a strategic overview of the current state and future trends of the photonic packaging market, examine the current position with regard to standardization and identify the opportunities for the supply industry in the areas of materials, process equipment, and assembly/test services.

For more information regarding this important strategic study, please contact Sarah Demmon, Direct Marketing Manager on +44 (0) 1306 875500 or e-mail at

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