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Ethernet overtakes Sonet for Wans

Tash Shifrin

Ethernet networks will eventually dominate wide area networks covering metropolitan areas, as use of SONet/SDH declines over the next 10-20 years, industry analysts have forecast.

A study published by analyst firm Infonetics Research estimates that the percentage of Ethernet access or collector rings/mesh will rise from 32% in 2005 to 60% in 2007 and beyond.

Michael Howard, principal analyst of Infonetics Research and lead author of the study, said, “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.”

The Infonetics study found that all of a sample of 25 top tier service providers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific already offered Ethernet services and most planned to offer Ethernet over a variety of technologies, including fibre, copper, Wi-Fi and Wi-Max.

The survey found that 52% of providers had a strategy to deploy an all-Ethernet and/or an Ethernet/MPLS network combining residential/triple play and business traffic by next year. Nearly half of the sample (48%) were planning to deploy next generation hybrid Ethernet-WDM-SONet/SDH equipment.


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