Though product sales are not yet enormous, packet optical networking is being positioned as a way to realize strong capex and opex savings for network operators, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Insider, a paid research service of TechWeb's Light Reading.
Vendors Bet a Packet on Optical explores the reasons why operators might want to deploy packet optical technologies within their networks. It reviews the various solutions available, compares the positioning of the vendors selling into this market, and draws conclusions about the prospects for packet optical networking. The report takes a slightly wider definition of packet optical than Heavy Reading's market tracker (which focuses on packet optical transport solutions with ROADMs), to show the range of products that are now being given the "packet optical" name by vendors. Finally, this report profiles 16 leading vendors in the market.
"The concept of packet optical networking involves the convergence of optical transport network systems with packet-based switching and routing systems into a single platform," notes Simon Sherrington, research analyst with Heavy Reading Insider and author of the report. "The idea is that this combination should deliver the provisioning, troubleshooting, and resiliency benefits of traditional transport networks, plus the scalability, flexibility, and intelligence of packet-based infrastructures."
The cost savings that vendors say can be achieved by evolving to packet optical networking are impressive, Sherrington says. "Expect packet optical technology deployment to accelerate as LTE becomes deployed," he continues. "At this point, wireless operators will be looking to squeeze as much efficiency out of their networks as possible."
Key findings of Vendors Bet a Packet on Optical the following:
- Packet optical networking solutions are now available, and the number of vendors with packet optical portfolios is growing quickly
- Packet optical vendors increasingly emphasize the ability of their solutions to enable incremental migration to packet transport networks
- The ingredients of a "packet optical" solution still vary widely, but all include Ethernet services and transport support
- PBB-TE has significantly less following among the optical vendors than it had 18 months ago; MPLS-TP is now the front-runner in terms of connection-oriented Ethernet support
- Sales volumes are not yet huge, but market drivers and potential use cases suggest a promising future for packet optical technologies
Vendors Bet a Packet on Optical is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (12 monthly issues) to Heavy Reading Insider, priced at $1,995. Individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).