Light Reading

Ethernet Expo 2012: Adding SDN to the Mix

Carol Wilson

NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo Americas 2012 -- Set against the backdrop of New York's resilience and recovery, this year's Ethernet Expo Americas is bringing the sector's top experts together to discuss its most urgent topics: delivering new services faster and more efficiently; identifying new revenues/profits; and continuing the transformation of the communications network. (See Ethernet Expo Is Still On!.)

The rise of software-defined networking (SDN) will likely be the hottest topic on the agenda, and Ethernet Expo will offer some real-world perspectives that go beyond the theoretical discussions that are commonplace today.

Executives from NTT America Inc. , Sidera Networks Inc. and the Open Networking Foundation , among others, will discuss carrier-class SDN deployment that explores the near-term challenges as well as the long-term benefits of this effort to separate the data and control plans and enable more flexible and efficient network operation. (See Ethernet Expo 2012: Record Number of Experts Lined Up.)

"It will be exciting to hear how network operators are moving quickly to embrace this aspect of network transformation," says Stan "The Etherman" Hubbard, Heavy Reading senior analyst and Ethernet Expo Chairman.

But it's not all SDN -- Carrier Ethernet 2.0, cloud and mobile backhaul services also remain significant topics at this year's event, while the ongoing challenge of automating end-to-end service delivery (enabling service providers to reach far-flung endpoints with guaranteed quality of service) remains high on the agenda.

In addition, growing interest in cloud services is driving demand for more "elastic" Ethernet options more in line with cloud usage patterns: Leading speakers from tw telecom inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Enterprise Solutions and XO Communications Inc. will be sharing insight on how they are evolving their networks to deliver on the promise of "on-demand" resources.

The innovation conundrum
As Carrier Ethernet has matured and been widely deployed, the challenge of how to innovate and differentiate services becomes more prevalent. That innovation process will be the topic of two separate panels, led by Hubbard, which explore innovation in services and technology in the CE 2.0 era and feature every segment of industry carrier: AT&T, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. , Integra Telecom Inc. , Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), MegaPath Inc. , Telx Group Inc. and XO.

Mobile backhaul remains a hot market, with Carrier Ethernet becoming the technology of choice in that realm. Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Patrick Donegan will lead the debate on that topic, which this year includes a focus on the backhaul challenges facing mobile operators deploying small cells.

No Ethernet Expo would be complete without a look toward the future, with a focus on how network operators need to be planning for the bandwidth and service demands of tomorrow. This year’s event will not only include discussion of what Carrier Ethernet 3.0 might entail but also touch on the today's emerging architecture for 100Gbit/s Ethernet and what lies beyond 100Gbit/s in the transport sector. Optical networking expert and Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Sterling Perrin will lead the latter discussion.

With hundreds of service provider executives on hand, some of the best discussions will take place during the many networking opportunities.

Details about the entire agenda and information on special transportation arrangements can be found on the Ethernet Expo website.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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