Infonetics Research (News - Alert) recently conducted a study to determine the data network evolution plans and router and switch requirements of service providers in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. The report shows the increasing importance of Ethernet, not that surprising given the increasing number of broadband telephony and other bandwidth hungry services.
The study indicates that a new optical transport layer will emerge as carriers transform their networks in an effort to simplify network layers, use fewer technologies, build a more cost efficient infrastructure, and move to all-packet (think VoIP
). According to Infonetics, this new layer will be a fused Ethernet-WDM packet transport with circuit-like capabilities via Ethernet transport tunnels, also known as COE, or connection oriented Ethernet.
Infonetics explained that the service layer above Ethernet-WDM transport will be simplified to IP/MPLS/Ethernet. Also, carriers will gradually reduce their dependence on SONET
and SDH in transport and on ATM in service layers, while increasing their use of Ethernet in the service and transport layers. These changes will result in a growing IP
router and carrier Ethernet switch market.
Michael Howard, principal analyst at Infonetics Research pointed out that COE Ethernet transport tunnel technologies like T-MPLS
and PBT are seeing strong adoption given their early stage of development. He said that these technologies will be an essential ingredient of the service and optical transport layers, as they allow the displacement of SONET/SDH and enable carrier Ethernet switches to displace some routers.
Howard added that as a result, router and carrier Ethernet switch sales should continue strong as Ethernet and IP/MPLS traffic continues to grow, and at even faster rates than seen in a similar study Infonetics conducted in 2007.
Infonetics’ study, Service Provider Plans for IP/MPLS, also shows that over the next three to five, further penetration of broadband, increases in bandwidth usage, and the move to IPTV (News - Alert) and triple and quadruple play service offerings will drive Ethernet and IP/MPLS traffic growth. Top applications that will drive data traffic include broadband, metro Ethernet services, VoIP, and IPTV. Also, service providers reported 90-100 percent increases in Ethernet traffic in 2006 and in 2007, and 70-80 percent for IP/MPLS traffic.
In addition, the study indicates that 72 percent of the respondents will participate in interprovider QoS
in 2008. IP VPNs and VoIP are the most common services that make use of interprovider QoS, with reliability being the number one criteria respondents use in selecting an IP router and switch manufacturer. Infonetics found that Cisco (News - Alert), Juniper, and Alcatel-Lucent were the most popular manufacturers of the edge routers that respondents currently installed.
To learn more about bandwidth-intensive technologies, please visit the Broadband Telephony channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Pactolus.
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Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anuradha’s article, please visit her columnist page.