Metro Transport Networks in Trouble?

Next Generation Communications Blog

Metro Transport Networks in Trouble?

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Spoiler alert: The added capacity of 100G-capable transport systems will not be enough to meet the coming demand within Metro Transport Networks.

First, there are numbers that have service providers worried. A recent Bell Labs study showed that metro traffic will grow by more than 560 percent by 2017, twice the growth of backbone network traffic. The biggest drivers will be video and cloud traffic. Bell Labs also predicts that while 57 percent of network traffic terminated in the metro back in 2012, by 2017 a full 75 percent of traffic will terminate within metro networks.

Meeting this demand within metro networks is of crucial importance for network operators, and for some the solution is adding higher capacity 100G-capable transport systems. The 100G solution in core or long-haul networks is now spreading to metro or regional networks.

But 100G is a blunt and costly instrument, and what really is needed is a cloud-optimized metro that uses integrated packet transport and is has packet-optimized WDM (wavelength-division multiplexing), As Dave Brown, Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent details in a recent podcast.

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Click to play: What’s Next for Metro Transport Networks 

In a recent TechZine posting, Retool Metro Transport Networks with Packet-Optimized WDM, Brown elaborated even more saying, “Service providers are realizing that current networks are not efficiently filling the 100G pipes with the mix of packet traffic.”He added that, “This issue will only exacerbate in the more complex and dynamic nature of metro networks.”

Brown is advocating that a more integrated approach is needed when it comes to metro networks.

“The time is now to retool the metro network with a more holistic approach – a solution that is not only scalable but agile and efficient,” he wrote. “We already see service providers making this choice, and moving toward a packet-optimized WDM approach.”

Specifically, operators need to leverage a packet-optimized WDM platform that is optimized for scalability with metro-tuned, programmable 100G and 200G options and with multilayer, multiservice switching, according to Brown. They also should use an integrated layer 2 over WDM solution for maximum efficiency and performance, and one that is MEF Carrier Ethernet (CE) 2.0 certified for all MEF service types (including E-Line, E-LAN, E-Tree and E-Access).

Further, the right solution will leverage a proven OS across the optical and Ethernet/IP/MPLS platforms for the benefits of a common service, operational and management model.

Alone, 100G is not enough to meet the metro network demand. But with a smarter network, the change in metro traffic patterns doesn’t need to be a nightmare for operators.

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