Carriers cooling on packet-optical transport?

A survey conducted by IHS (NYSE: IHS) indicates that carriers' ardor for packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) may be cooling. While the platforms remain popular – 78% of survey respondents said they have already deployed such systems or plan to by the end of 2016 – that total represents a drop of 8 percentage points compared to the results of last year's survey.

A survey conducted by IHS (NYSE: IHS) indicates that carriers' ardor for packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) may be cooling. While the platforms remain popular – 78% of survey respondents said they have already deployed such systems or plan to by the end of 2016 – that total represents a drop of 8 percentage points compared to the results of last year's survey (see "SDN not playing key role in carriers' optical decisions says Infonetics").

The installed percentage of P-OTS in respondents' networks remained about the same as in last year's survey, which also implies that either carriers were overoptimistic last year or changed their plans.

"The increased focus on data center interconnect and the virtualized functions expected to reside within may be reducing the pressure to use technologies like P-OTS to converge multiple networks," said Andrew Schmitt, research director for carrier transport networking at IHS, by way of explanation.

Nevertheless, carriers appear to find the systems useful. IHS reports that respondents "still feel strongly" that P-OTS can reduce network complexity. A greater number of respondents than last year expressed the belief that the right equipment is now available from the vendor community.

Meanwhile, almost all of respondents said they plan to deploy transport software-defined networking (SDN). However, more than half don't expect to do so until 2017 or later.

The 22-page 2015 IHS Infonetics Packet-Optical Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey reports the results of interviews IHS conducted with incumbent, competitive, mobile and cable operators in North America, EMEA, Asia Pacific, and Latin America that have deployed packet-optical transport systems or plan to by 2016. The study examines why service providers deploy packet-optical equipment, how they make the tradeoff between using converged optical and Ethernet equipment versus standalone routers, and what network penetration looks like. It also explores carriers' plans for alien wavelengths and using SDN in optical networks.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

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