Report: Ethernet displacing SONET/SDH in customer access networks

OCTOBER 18, 2006 -- Ethernet over WDM will increase from 80% in 2006 to 92% after 2007, while the number of service provider respondents offering Ethernet over SONET/SDH will decrease from 88% to 60% over the same period.

OCTOBER 18, 2006 -- A new study of 25 top tier service providers in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific provides further evidence that Ethernet continues to go mainstream and will eventually dominate the metro space, as SONET/SDH slowly but surely declines over the next 10 to 20 years, contends Infonetics Research (search Infonetics Research), conductor of the study.

Dubbed, "Service provider plans for metro optical and Ethernet," the study reveals that the percentage of access or collector rings/mesh that are Ethernet will jump from 32% in 2005 or earlier to 60% in 2007 and beyond.

"The trend is clear: Ethernet is growing in the access space to the detriment and displacement of SONET/SDH, as service providers continue to look for ways to reduce operating expenditures and enable new revenue streams," contends Michael Howard, principal analyst of Infonetics Research and lead author of the study. "And now that the number-one technical issue that was plaguing service providers rolling out metro Ethernet networks last year--QoS [quality of service]--is being addressed by manufacturers, the Ethernet adoption curve is speeding up. Manufacturers have added many new QoS features based on OAM standards, dramatically improving end-to-end QoS with carrier-class Ethernet products," he adds. "As a result, QoS dropped from the top of the list of technical challenges last year to number seven this year."

According to the report:
• All respondent service providers offer Ethernet services already, and most plan to offer Ethernet over a variety of technologies, including fiber, copper, WiFi, and WiMAX.
• Ethernet over WDM will increase from 80% in 2006 to 92% after 2007, while the number offering Ethernet over SONET/SDH will decrease from 88% to 60% over the same period.
• 48% of providers plan to deploy next-generation hybrid Ethernet-WDM-
SONET/SDH equipment.
• Incumbent providers are currently ahead of competitives in displacing SONET/SDH with Ethernet services; Europe is moving the fastest in displacing SONET/SDH, Asia Pacific the slowest.
• Respondents will a variety of network-based services over Ethernet in 2006, led by packetized voice, private line over Ethernet, and a number of video, storage related, and security related services.
• By 2007, 52% of respondents will have a strategy to deploy an all-
Ethernet and/or an Ethernet/MPLS network that combines residential triple-play and business traffic.
• Most respondents use VPNs to offer Ethernet services, and all
VPN service types will grow in usage by 2007, with layer-2 point-to-point
MPLS VPNs (pseudowire) and VPLS growing the most.

For more information, visit Infonetics Research.

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