Operators still say yes to OTN switching in Infonetics survey

A recently completed survey of network operators shows continued interest in the use of Optical Transport Network (OTN) switching, says Infonetics Research. The “OTN Deployment Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey” results confirm conclusions reached in a similar survey last year, and indicate that OTN switching will receive a significant portion of most operators’ capex dollars.

A recently completed survey of network operators shows continued interest in the use of Optical Transport Network (OTN) switching, says Infonetics Research. The “OTN Deployment Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey” results confirm conclusions reached in a similar survey last year, and indicate that OTN switching will receive a significant portion of most operators’ capex dollars.

"The results of our OTN Deployment Strategies survey show that OTN switching will play a leading and significant role in the regional and long-haul networks of most, but not all carriers," states Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. "There is no agreement (nor will there likely ever be) on whether Layer 2 switching features should be combined into OTN hardware, but a few carriers we thought were in the 'strict OSI segregationist' camp now show interest in embracing unified L0+L1+L2 solutions -- a bit of a shock!"

About three-quarters of service providers who participated in the survey said they plan to deploy OTN switching in their networks. “This sample represents 90% of all respondent capex, which means most optical dollars will be spent by carriers with OTN switching," Schmitt asserts.

Backing up this statement, Infonetics' recent OTN Hardware Market Outlook report revealed that OTN switching and transport hardware composed 45% of global optical equipment spending in the first half of 2011. Infonetics expects this figure to grow to 70% of the total by 2015, or $10.6 billion, with OTN switching growing much more quickly than OTN transport.

The current level of interest remained steady from 2011, when a similar survey also showed that 75% of respondents had OTN switching plans (see “Infonetics survey says: OTN rules!”).

Infonetics analysts interviewed 21 service providers from around the world for the survey; the operators collectively account for more than one-third of global telecom revenue and capex, according to the market research firm. The survey aimed to answer such questions as:

  • How much OTN switching will be used in metro and core nodes?
  • What size these switches need to be.
  • How they will be managed.
  • Size requirements of OTN switch fabrics.
  • Whether ODU-flex is an important feature.
  • The level of carrier interest in OTN and to what degree it is already deployed.

In addition to the general interest in OTN, the survey reveals that current and projected use of metro OTN ports is increasing. Respondents cited wavelength efficiency as the most important application for OTN; however, service providers are deploying more sophisticated management control planes as part of OTN switching deployments.

The relatively new ODU-flex capability remains important only to a small number of respondents – most of whom are Huawei customers.

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