New research looking into the networking and telecommunications industries reveals that worldwide sales of optical transport equipment reached the highest level in 5 years during the fourth quarter of 2006.

Market research firm, Dell'Oro Group, said Monday that network equipment that uses light to transfer information from one location to another grew by 10 percent in the fourth quarter. Sales of optical equipment using a technique known as wave-division multiplexing (WDM) grew 42 percent compared to the previous year.

The environment around the world is favorable to Optical Transport, according to the firm. Factors boosting demand for WDM are the need for scalable and efficient systems

WDM systems combine information from many sources and transmit the data on a single optical fiber. Different sources are assigned different wavelengths of light, or colors of the light spectrum, allowing simultaneous transmission.

The technology lends itself to high data-rates. Researchers believe this capacity will help it expand even further.

Within WDM Metro we see increasing interest for Multi-haul systems, as their range of flexibility provides another key feature in addition to their high bandwidth capabilities, said Dell’Oro analyst Shin Umeda in a note to clients.