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Despite economic conditions, the Carrier Ethernet market is still one of the fastest growing markets in the telecom industry. Market researcher IDC projects the overall growth of the Carrier Ethernet switching and routing market to reach a 14.7% five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
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We believe other vendors have and will begin to deliver products similar to those of Alcatel-Lucent, but they may or may not have the entire end-to-end SLA management.
But to enable this growth, carriers must continue to add value-added services to their portfolios for residential, business and mobile customers. How will they do that? In a few ways:
- For the residential market: Optimization of bandwidth to each and every customer requires improvement and remains a challenge.
- For business services: End-to-end service-level agreements (SLAs) need significant improvement, especially when it comes to provisioning and management of those services.
- For mobility networks: The operational challenges of introducing Ethernet and large-scale Ethernet synchronization for next-generation mobile networks continue to be key issues.
- Targeted advertising in IP networks: This may come to fruition sooner than people think. Revenue from services supporting television, PCs and mobile devices, not to mention global positioning integration, will dramatically escalate the potential for this market. Recommendations and profile models have great appeal to hold consumers to a service, and IDC believes that the privacy issues will be worked out during the process of devising these models.
Alcatel-Lucent rolls out Carrier Ethernet advanced-services framework
Alcatel-Lucent is introducing a Carrier Ethernet framework to help providers deliver new applications that enable advanced services for residential, business and mobile networks. This framework provides a vision for Alcatel-Lucent to introduce new products and services capabilities for the Carrier Ethernet market.
Alcatel-Lucent is also announcing the 7210 Service Access Switch (SAS). This is a customer premise equipment (CPE) product most likely owned and managed by the service provider. It enables the extension of the Carrier Ethernet network to the customer premise.
Based on merchant silicon, the product will not only meet carrier price points but also have operational advantages and the ability to deliver multiple services over one Ethernet link. This is a cost-effective Carrier Ethernet switch for providers that offer best-effort services in a controlled environment. The 7210 SAS-E, a version with Ethernet-based switched services, is now available.
The 7210 SAS-M (the "M" stands for MPLS) supports MPLS-based QoS and traffic management and will be available in 3Q09. This device will be applicable for larger providers planning to offer high-quality SLAs and can also be used in high (bandwidth)-utilization networks such as the healthcare industry, as well as connecting data centers for disaster recovery.
Providing end-to-end SLA management across product lines for Web 2.0 and converged services will hopefully address and handle the vast and unpredictable video traffic emerging on the networks today. Ultimately, this means that bandwidth can be allocated on the basis of the application signature, thereby highly optimizing the service in order for the provider to claim potentially increasing revenue. Both 7210 SAS versions leverage the same operating system as the 7450 ESS and 7750 SR product lines do, the SR OS. Not to be overlooked is the integrated end-to-end service provisioning and management from CPE to core with the 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM).
CPE-based Carrier Ethernet switches -- a matter of time
There was no question that CPE-based Carrier Ethernet switches would come to market, it was just a matter of timing and when the market would be ready for them. IDC believes the growth of Ethernet services worldwide is enabling this growth and expanding the market for these products right now.
It cannot be overstated how important end-to-end management will be in all-IP networks. Release 7.0 of the 7450 ESS will support the Y.1731 OAM standard for fault management, fault monitoring, performance management, and standards-based service assurance agent. IDC believes that the integration of the standards-based OAM and integrated network management is key for creation of advanced services worldwide.
IDC believes this is a good product release for Alcatel-Lucent. It helps define the Carrier Ethernet challenges and shows how the company will address them in 2009. It also delivers a new product in an emerging market. We believe other vendors have and will begin to deliver products similar to those of Alcatel-Lucent, but they may or may not have the entire end-to-end SLA management. This is a strong first-of-the-year announcement for Alcatel-Lucent.
About the author: Eve Griliches is a program director within IDC's Telecommunications Equipment group. She provides in-depth insight and analysis on service provider routers and switches, as well as the optical networking market. Griliches also provides critical business intelligence on emerging technology trends and their impact on the overall telecom market space. She joined IDC in 2005, after 10 years in product management for a number of network equipment vendors.