Demand Is Pushing Carriers to 10gigE Transport, Panel Says

Demand for Ethernet services among business users continues to grow, pushing carriers toward higher-capacity transport networks like 10-gigabit Ethernet for service backhaul across terrestrial and submarine networks.

10gig Ethernet is going to give them a chance to get to a lower price point for service backhaul, i.e., overall service delivery, than the way they have historically done it, said Russ Sharer, vice president of marketing for Occam Networks. Its part of the continuing decision to be able to reduce costs of providing service by moving more toward an IP and a data structure.

Sharer will lead a panel discussion today at COMPTEL PLUS in Las Vegas wherein three service providers will talk about how they can help carriers grow their capacity with gig and 10gigE services. The session, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and the Next-Generation Capacity, features executives from Hibernia Atlantic, Level 3 Communications Inc. and Global Crossing Ltd.

Level 3 developed the industrys first nationwide long-haul 10gigE LAN PHY service, providing solutions for applications like content delivery and core network backbones. It also recently participated in the first successful 100gigE signal transmittal through a live production network. Hibernia Atlantic in September 2006 was the first transport provider to offer a full 10gigE across the ocean. Global Crossing way back in 2003 introduced the first trans-European 10gigE connection.

Sharer said the panelists will talk about the revenue and cost-saving opportunities possible with 10gigE connectivity. This is really a way for them to reduce their cost per bit for transport, he said, adding carriers can reduce the number of Class 5s in their network because the backhaul is cheaper. The big problem you run into is the perception that Ethernet is not going to be reliable. This is our opportunity to convince them it is.

Panelist Paul Savill, vice president of data and professional services at Level 3, said the company is focused on offering high-capacity end-to-end Ethernet applications. We are seeing more and more demand for the highest speed gigE interfaces that we can provide, he said.

Eric Gutshall, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Hibernia Atlantic, said his company also is seeing increased demand for higher-capacity interfaces. We are just starting to see [networks] scale up, Gutshall said. We are where we were seven or eight years ago with 10gig waves when they were asking about it but buying 2.5gig waves. Everyone is buying 10gig waves now. Now we are seeing the progression a little bit of a right turn where everyone wants Ethernet now. We have been asked about it forever, we are taking orders and now we are delivering it to folks.

Gutshall said the demand for 10gigE is mostly among carrier customers, which make up 80 percent of Hibernia Atlantics customer base. We are the only ones carrying 10-gigabit Ethernet across the pond today. No one is doing it, he said. We are turning up customers left and right on 10gigE.

Keeping up with bandwidth demand is going to be a continual struggle for carriers, said Sharer. I like to say that bandwidth is like closet space you never seem to have enough, he said, explaining that once the capacities grow and the price points get lower, you can enable applications that you could not have previously, thus creating even more bandwidth demand.

For these reasons, Gutshall said his company already is testing 40gigE on short terrestrial runs. Making 40gigE work on submarine fiber is another can of worms, he said, noting that with 262 amplifiers on the ocean floor required to transport traffic across its eight fibers, they would have to invest in new amps at $1 million a whack.

Hibernia Atlantic  

Level 3 Communications Inc.  

Global Crossing Ltd.  

Occam Networks

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