BELLEVUE, Wash.—The market for communications semiconductors is projected to grow moderately in 2012 after a 3 percent decline in 2011, according to a new report by the Linley Group, a market research firm and consulting group.
After starting the year off strong in 2011, the market for communications chips declined in the second half of the year as OEMs pared inventory and wireless operators completed projects and deferred further investment, according to the report.
While the overall communications chip market declined in 2011, the market for 10-gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) chips grew by some 86.5 percent to reach more than $200 million, according to the report. The number of 10GbE NIC ports shipped in 2011 improved by 111 percent compared to 2010, according to the report.
"While last year had a disappointing finish, there was significant growth by vendors in several categories and we predict increased revenues for 2012," said Joseph Byrne, senior analyst at the Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.) in a statement.
Among the top 20 suppliers included in the Linley Group report, MediaTek, Entropic and Semtech showed the fastest growth, the firm said. Broadcom maintained its strong lead in the communications ASSPs market with a 33 percent share and, following its acquisition of Broadlight, should overtake PMC-Sierra as the leader in the passive optical network processor market, the Linley Group said.
Marvell narrowly overtook Intel to become the second-largest communications ASSP supplier, but Intel fared well in Ethernet, gaining in 10GbE and GbE controllers and entering the 10GbE switch market by acquiring Fulcrum, the Linley Group said. Intel is also the top-ranked embedded processor supplier with 40 percent of the market, while Freescale is second, the firm said.
Freescale was the largest supplier of processors to the communications market in 2011, with Intel second and Cavium—which grew at the fastest rate last year, in third, the Linley Group said.
In FPGAs, second place Altera's superior execution in the 40-nm generation helped it narrow the gap with the current leader, Xilinx, according to.
The Linley Group said its report, "Communications Semiconductor Market Share 2011," includes share reports and analysis for 20 categories of communications semiconductor products. The report is available through the company's web site at a cost of $3,495 for a single copy.