It wasn't that long ago that Ethernet services maxed out at one gigabit, but the drive toward 10GE, 40GE and even 100GE is now well underway.
In advance of next week's Big Telecom Event, Light Reading asked Windstream Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN) CTO and executive vice president of engineering Randy Nicklas for his thoughts on gigabit Ethernet trends. As a bonus, we also checked in on Nicklas's perspective regarding Windstream's plans for gigabit residential broadband services. CEO Tony Thomas said in May that the company will ultimately roll out gigabit speeds across its entire fiber-to-the-home network, starting with at least one market in 2015.
Light Reading: How common is it today for companies building out new private Ethernet networks to opt for 40GE versus 10GE? What about 100GE?
Randy Nicklas: We see very little demand for 40GE, with most enterprise demand topping out at 10GE. We're starting to see enterprise interest in 100GE for hub sites and data centers. Carrier customers are driving 100GE demand.
LR: What do you see as the biggest drivers in the enterprise market for higher capacity Ethernet services? Are there industry sectors where the trend is growing more quickly?
RN: Disaster Recovery and Data Center Interconnect are drivers, together with the falling cost of 10GE capable switches and a desire to future proof to a degree. Top sectors include finance, healthcare and federal government.
LR: What's the sweet spot for mobile backhaul today?
RN: Mobile backhaul is still typically 100-200 Mbit/s per tower, albeit across a link that is fully 1GE capable.
LR: Windstream recently announced plans to launch gigabit residential service in at least one market this year. How quickly do you see consumer gigabit services getting adopted?
RN: This remains to be seen, but deploying gigabit services sends an important message to our consumer and SMB customers that we are making major investments in our broadband access networks and our IP/MPLS network as well. We do believe in a "halo effect." (See 6 Steps Towards a Gigabit City.)
Nicklas will speak on the panel Data Networking: Get Ready for 100 Gigabit Ethernet Services hosted by Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin at next week's Big Telecom Event.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading