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Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
8/22/2001
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Analysts agree that Ethernet has a long road ahead before it overtakes Sonet in metro area networks (MANs). But just what flavor of Ethernet will prevail, how long it will take before it becomes widely deployed, and where, is still being hotly debated.

Marian Stasney, senior analyst with The Yankee Group, published a report yesterday saying that, while service providers are certainly considering Ethernet as a low-cost option for delivering high-speed access in metro networks, actual deployments are still thin on the ground (Yankees See Rosy Gig-E Future).

“Eventually, Ethernet will take over in metro,” says Stasney. “But [that's] at least seven to 10 years down the road.”

Stasney cites several barriers to widespread deployment of Ethernet in the near term. Although Ethernet equipment is much cheaper to purchase and maintain than Sonet gear -- thus saving on initial capital expenditures and operational costs -- the fiber infrastructure needed to support Ethernet services in the metro is still far from ubiquitous.

Further, metro Ethernet applications like voice over IP and storage networking are still immature, making carriers less willing to adopt a pure Ethernet approach in the near future.

”Service providers trying voice over IP say that quality varies substantially between vendors’ gear,” says Stasney. “I’m not sure end users are comfortable with using pure Ethernet for storage yet, either. Even greenfield Ethernet players are being asked to provide services other than Ethernet to handle these services.”

There is also a tremendous amount of Sonet already installed in most carrier networks. Some estimates show that there are at least 100,000 Sonet rings operating in the U.S. and possibly twice that number of SDH rings operating outside the U.S., according to Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst with Infonetics Research Inc.

Both Stasney and Howard agree that cutbacks in capital spending mean service providers won't lay massive quantities of fiber, or rip out older Sonet infrastructure, to deploy a technology that may not be able to generate revenue right away.

No hard numbers from the report have been released to the public yet, but Stasney says she is basing her research on conversations with 30 to 40 Ethernet, Sonet, resilient packet ring (RPR), and wave division multiplexing (WDM) equipment vendors, as well as data that was collected for another Yankee Group report on service providers, which hasn’t yet been published.

Other analysts agree with her basic premise. Chris Nicoll, vice president at Current Analysis, and Mark Lutkowitz, VP of optical networking research at Communications Industry Researchers Inc., both say they agree that Sonet will continue to dominate the metro for at least the next three to five years.

“This is probably the first time that I can say that I agree with Yankee,” says Lutkowitz. “The rate at which Sonet gear becomes obsolete is very slow. That stuff will be around for another 30 years. There’s no question that Sonet is here to stay.”

But Lutkowitz seems a bit leery of the specifics of The Yankee Group report: “Projecting the market seven to 10 years is ridiculous."

Fellow analysts may also quibble with Stasney on another point. She is bullish on the prospect of pure Ethernet eventually becoming the technology du jour in the metro, while others say that some combination of Ethernet over Sonet, or even the emerging packet technologies like RPR, will rule.

“It’s hard to say which technology will win out,” says Stasney. “RPR will likely be extremely important, but with Ethernet over Sonet you lose benefits of both technologies.” Analysts who disagree point to specific examples to back up their case.

Ocular Networks Inc. and Native Networks Ltd., which both offer Ethernet over Sonet, are getting serious attention from service providers,” says Nicoll from Current Analysis. “But companies like Atrica Inc. and Extreme Networks Inc., pure Ethernet guys, are finding legacy carriers a harder nut to crack. There aren’t that many Cogent Communications Inc. or Yipes Communications Inc.-type providers out there for them.”

- Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com

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uncle_optics@yahoo.com
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uncle_optics@yahoo.com,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:43 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
Yo Mama is soooo fat that.....

oh yeah????


Well, you Mama is so ugly that.....

I love it.

Hey Yankee.....stop wasting your time interviewing the vendors!!!! Then again, everyone knows that you offer the best PR that money can buy so if you didn't rely on the vendors for your information then you'd be out of business!!!!
uncle_optics@yahoo.com
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uncle_optics@yahoo.com,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:41 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
AMEN!!!

Or maybe at least create a PR section of the report and you can put Yankee and RHK in there.

Here's a Tag Line:

Will Shill For Food (or in RHK's case, pre-IPO stock)
hisles
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hisles,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:41 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
To Lightreading

please keep Yankee off this sight

This is suppossedly to be for intelligent forward thinking people...

It isn't about Ethernet V Sonet but the integration of Ethernet into the Broadband IP strategy of existing networks.

A lot of buzz words start happening like provisioning, mpls etc etc and if i was anymore specific the boys at Yanks would publish it

But then since I wasn't paying them for writing it maybe not.....
flanker
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flanker,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:40 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
Ethernet isnt a solution for corporations with global private line network needs.
jones1
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jones1,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:40 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
I would like to share a few critical considerations before adopting the metro-ethernet
standard.

If the metro-ethernet is base on today' s pure ethernet implementation, there is no way it can
achieve that kind of protection and restoration scheme offered by SONET. This scheme is so important to justify carrier-class service which
primary dedicated to a voice-carrier network.

A maximum tolerence of 50 ms for any restoration
scheme will ultimately inhibit the adoption of ethernet.

It is impossible for ethernet to solve voice
carrier-class service requirement unless IEEE
802.3 working group modify ethernet so much to look like sonet. (With all the in-band signaling)
Prove me wrong.Anyone?

jmd
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jmd,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:39 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
It may look and act like SONET in some ways but it will be called Ethernet. People have decided it's easier to get there from the Ethernet base camp. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
jmd
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jmd,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:38 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
Of course itGÇÖs going to take some time GÇô it requires what is commonly referred to as business case. You see not that long ago you needed to build a business case in order for things to move ahead, then along came a big party where everybody said the f* with business cases I gonna get my piece before somebody else does.

Are we all so focused on instant billions that we canGÇÖt be a bit more patient? Geez!

The SONET v Ethernet debate is over already, weGÇÖre just waiting for the business case to mature. Last year you didnGÇÖt need a business case to convince somebody to buy into it, this year you do.

tintin
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tintin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:37 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
"It is impossible for ethernet to solve voice
carrier-class service requirement unless IEEE
802.3 working group modify ethernet so much to look like sonet. (With all the in-band signaling)
Prove me wrong.Anyone?"

Why do you want to solve resiliency at layer 2?
Ethernet over Sonet, Ethernet over Lambda, or IEEE 802.17,... all of them offer sub-50 ms resiliency.

Just don't use Spanning Tree (not even its grand-son) and your problem is solved. :-)

Tintin.

FiberFan
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FiberFan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:36 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
MMA asked the question;

What was the reason for the 50 ms restoration switching time requirement? Does anyone recall?

50ms restoration is key to support legacy TDM/voice networks. This kept calls (hundreds to thousands of them) from dropping and causing the Class 4/5 switch to melt down. There are probably a couple of other reasons, but maintaining calls (or Tandem Links) was the main reason.

This discussion thread is very interesting. Ethernet vs. SONET. From all of my reading the answer to this question seems to be RPR.

Any thoughts on this?

FiberFan
mma
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mma,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 7:55:36 PM
re: Report Stirs Ethernet vs Sonet Debate
"A maximum tolerence of 50 ms for any restoration
scheme will ultimately inhibit the adoption of ethernet."

What was the reason for the 50 ms restoration switching time requirement? Does anyone recall?
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