By one indication, the market for 40Gbit/s gear is doing fine, thank you very much. Telecom equipment makers aren't letting up on gear running at that speed, and they plan to purchase plenty more 40Gbit/s transponders and components, according to market researcher CIR.

By 2012, CIR says, those equipment manufacturers will purchase $500 million worth of 40Gbit/s components for WAN switches and so forth.

What is interesting about that prediction is that much of the excitement in the market has been around 10Gbit/s, and even 100Gbit/s as we start to look at the next generation of Ethernet. The idea of going to 40Gbit/s as an interim step for Ethernet was bandied about, but ultimately rejected by the IEEE study group that was considering the question.

As CIR writes:

"Having run the gamut from over hyped 'next big thing' to dead and buried, 40Gbit/s has once again emerged as a topic of conversation in the market. The difference today is that real deployments are beginning to happen and advances in technology and the availability of 40G transponders have made the technology into something worth considering."

Still, CIR says it doesn't expect industry-wide roll-out of 40Gbit/s until 2010. And it says that the speed won't reach the prominence of 10Gbit/s until at least 2015, if then.

CIR says 40Gbit/s will get some traction through cost improvements and innovations. For example, advanced optical modulation schemes and improved dispersion compensation have been developed, and CIR says these factors make 40Gbit/s transmission over existing networks much more practical.

The research firm also says that although large component manufacturers have stayed on the sidelines, they could easily enter the market through acquisitions of smaller 40Gbit/s companies as they see volumes of 40Gbit/s components rise.