UK structured cabling market overviewMay 2015

UK data cabling market 2014 copper vs fibre split

The UK structured cabling market declined by just over 3% to £190 million in 2014, although the decrease in terms of volume was marginal. Although supplier price lists remained stable in 2014 (as seen for the last few years), project prices have declined slightly, due to fierce competition in the industry.

Both the Local Area Network (LAN) and the Data Centre (DC) markets contracted in 2014, compared to the previous year, but the DC segment suffered a steeper reduction (6%), mainly due to a reduction in large projects. The LAN market accounted for 82% of the structured cabling installed, while the remaining 18% was installed in data centres.

UK data cabling market 2014 cable vs components split

The pressure on prices has been evident for years for the suppliers and the channel, as part of the commoditisation of the structured cabling market. As a result, several of the larger system integrators are moving into related areas, such as complex data centres, outsourcing and managed services, intelligent buildings and convergence.

The UK structured cabling market is dominated by unshielded (UTP) cabling systems.
Cat 6 cabling accounts for more than 55% of the market by value, followed by Cat 6A (under 30% in value terms) with sales partly being driven by the need of a future proof installation, and also PoE applications.

Cat 5e (still above 10% measured by value) are mostly used by SMEs and for other applications that require limited bandwidth (such as access controls, intruder alarms, CCTV, etc.). Cat 7/7A projects are still marginal.

As in 2013, OM3 multimode dominated the fibre cable market, accounting for 60% by volume. OM4 sales are still relatively low, and mostly deployed in data centres.

UK data cabling market segmentation by category, by volume, 2011-2017

The reduction seen in very large data centre projects in 2014 had an impact on sales of pre-terminated fibre connectivity, which decreased by 13% to £16 million. MTP/MPO sales accounted for 54% of total fibre connectivity sales in 2014.

For most of the very large data centres, fibre products account for between 80 and 90% by value, while the smaller data centres have a higher ratio of copper. The colocation data centres also tend to use more copper, point to point non structured cabling links, and generally opt for a Top of Rack architecture. Colocation data centres are generally more cost focused while enterprise data centres often look at flexibility and future-proofing, and have a higher update of centralised switching or End of Row (EoR) architecture, requiring more structured cabling. In 2014, the ratio of fibre to copper was 67:33, marginally lower in fibre compared to 2013.

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