Ethernet displacing SONET/SDH in Customer Access Networks

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.

According to the study released by Infonetics Research, “Service Provider Plans for Metro Optical and Ethernet,” the percentage of access or collector rings/mesh that are Ethernet jumps from 32% (among respondents that have adopted Ethernet adapter rings) 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,” says 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–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. As a result, QoS dropped from the top of the list of technical challenges last year to number seven this year.”

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