Poll results give the thumbs up to Ethernet technology PBT as a core network alternative to MPLS

October 31, 2006

2 Min Read
Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge

Provider Backbone Transport (PBT), the disruptive new flavor of Ethernet being championed by Nortel Networks Ltd. , is a viable alternative to MPLS in the core network of large carriers, according to the results of the latest Light Reading poll, PBT vs MPLS.

PBT is a new flavor of Ethernet that strips out some of the technology's inherent complexity and enables service providers to create a managed, traceable, point-to-point Ethernet tunnel across a network that provides Sonet/SDH-like performance.

Those familiar attributes are clearly attractive. With more than 440 votes cast in the poll so far (October 31), 63 percent of respondents say they would choose PBT, rather than Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), if they were responsible for planning a very large-scale deployment of Ethernet services at a big incumbent carrier and had to make an immediate decision on what technology to use in the core network. Just 35 percent would choose MPLS, while 2 percent would go for "something else."

According to the poll results, the main attraction of PBT compared with MPLS, is the operating cost of the technology, which garnered 29 percent of reader votes, followed by capital cost (16 percent), and scaleability (13 percent).

However, a notable 26 percent of respondents voted that PBT has no attractions at all.

PBT has emerged as one of the most contentious carrier technologies of 2006, and is enjoying the support of some major carriers, with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) the most vocal. (See BT Likes Nortel's New Ethernet Flavor, BT Rethinks 21CN Core Strategy, and Nortel's PBT Debuts in China.)

That has led some industry wags to suggest alternatives for the PBT acronym. (See PBT Means What?)

Nortel has been shortlisted in the "Best New Product" category of this year's Leading Lights Awards for its PBT technology, but it's not the only vendor promoting PBT, with Siemens Communications Group and Tpack A/S among those promoting the technology's attributes. (See LR Names Leading Lights Finalists and Nortel Launches PBT.)

But not all Ethernet vendors believe PBT is the way forward. (See Ethernet Expo II.)

To cast your vote in the poll, click on this link.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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