Optical Ethernet Rules

In the current market gloom, one sector has bucked the run of bad news to emerge as a beacon of excitement and optimisim: optical Ethernet.

According to the latest report from the Optical Oracle, Light Reading’s subscription service, the penetration of optical Ethernet equipment and services is accelerating so quickly that sales will overtake those of Sonet equipment within five to ten years.

Over 60 percent of carriers already have gigabit Ethernet installed on their networks. Even more plan to do so within the next 24 months, according to the report:

The report says the present optical Ethernet market is divided between two sets of vendors: those providing switches and edge routers with Ethernet interfaces, for use at the edges of a fiber metropolitan area network (MAN); and metro optical transport platforms with Ethernet interfaces that provide an infrastructure over which switches and edge routers can send Ethernet traffic.

The report ranks the top five public companies in both markets, and points out that although many companies sell both types of equipment, only one vendor wins a spot on both top five rankings: Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

However, Cisco is not the number one player in either market, the report states. Based on a valuation process that included in-depth industry interviews and analysis of products and financials, the report ranks Riverstone Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RSTN) first in the switch/edge router category. ONI Systems ranks first in the transport category.

The other top five players in Ethernet switches and edge routers are (in alphabetical order): Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR).

The other market leaders in metro transport are Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Cisco, Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), and Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR).

True to its title, “Optical Ethernet: The Shock of the New,” the report indicates that not all vendors will be able to keep pace with Ethernet's growing dominance in MANs. Indeed, the research shows incumbent equipment vendors and service providers are at a distinct disadvantage to startups, which are not saddled with investments in legacy offerings.

In contrast, established equipment vendors such as Lucent and Nortel are moving too slowly to build a solid future position. The result, says the report, is that the optical Ethernet market presents an “unparalleled” opportunity for young companies to emerge as leaders.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Editor's Note: Light Reading is not affiliated with Oracle Corporation.
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noitall 12/4/2012 | 7:50:16 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules glad to see lr cover this trend. this tidal wave will be what saves the carriers and therefore saves the equipment and components businesses. the fiber is there...corporations are running ethernet...ethernet is simple...time to make some money again.

anyone know who the hot startups are? i've heard some are ready to go and some are stalling out.

Neophone 12/4/2012 | 7:50:15 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules how about atrica? they are first company which i hear they release 100G ethernet product. but
i dont know they have real customer for their 100G or not
or really ship it?
G.Mong 12/4/2012 | 7:50:13 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules I don't believe Atrica can release 100G ethernet interface in a short term.Are there any standards
on 100G ethernet?
jones1 12/4/2012 | 7:50:11 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules These companies have all have great optical ethernet solutions to replace legency SONET.
Watch out!
Established companies:
Extreme Networks,ONI,Riverstone Networks.
Promising new stars:
Atrica, Internet Photonics, TropicNetworks.
RPR ( for migration from SONET ring )
Luminous Networks, Nortel Metro-optical, Cisco.
I have a suggest for lightreading to conduct an analysis of these companies' market position themselves in this new market.

[email protected] 12/4/2012 | 7:50:11 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules Scott:

I would like to commend on on the way that you ran the boards over the last week. You kicked out a hate monger but allowed people to express some emotions, thoughts and beliefs that were, in my opinion, rather constructive and informative.


It seems that some critcisisms of your company's use of its reporters to push your products were removed as was your response to the poster named lightreading. You folks have been questioned on the practice before and so I am wondering if you feel it a proper policy to eliminate such questions.
noitall 12/4/2012 | 7:50:06 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules jones, i have heard extreme is dead. foundry is a much better platform and extreme's products are full of bugs. why didn't you mention foundry? also why do you think atrica and tropic are promising? i'm not impressed with funding levels or management team for either. they seem like losers to me. have not heard of internet photonics before. what's your criteria for measuring promising newcomers in this space?

also what do you hear about lantern and force 10? where do they fit into the picture?

are these guys all really trying to replace sonet or are they trying to provide 10 g ip services over optical ethernet as a seperate network? i heard luminous pulled off the sonet replacement story with their tdm support but is that the big play here? also, what's your take on dpt vs rpr?
zande 12/4/2012 | 7:50:05 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules I don't come from a technical background and would like to know where I can find information pertaining to the increase in bandwidth, i.e. 2.4G to 10G to ?????
light_rock 12/4/2012 | 7:50:04 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules This article (and to a greater degree, the full report) makes the inference that I am seeing more and more in superficial analysis on this subject. It goes something like thisG«™.

Demand for Ethernet-based services is increasing --> SONET is doomed.

IG«÷m not sure I make the connection. Service providers have a number of different technology options for transporting Ethernet services. They may deploy Ethernet switches, DWDM equipment with Ethernet interfaces, or even (gasp!) SONET equipment with Ethernet interfaces. As an example, the three pioneers of Ethernet services G«Ű Yipes, Cogent, and Telseon G«Ű have chosen very different ways to build their metro networks. At least one of them uses SONET equipment (double gasp!).

Ethernet over SONET standards and implementations are maturing, just like their G«£carrier-classG«• Ethernet counterparts (e.g., RPR). Ethernet over SONET, or maybe over time Ethernet over DWDM, would seem to be an ideal way for those G«£incumbent service providersG«• to deploy new Ethernet services without ripping out their network infrastructures. WouldnG«÷t it be scandalous if the demand for Ethernet services actually stimulated the near- to mid-term demand for next-gen SONET gear?

jones1 12/4/2012 | 7:50:04 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules My comment on the rising STARS of optical ethernet solutions are some companies that excel
base on 2 very fundamental criteria. Obviously, my research cannot cover every companies but these companies perform
relative well under the mentioned critieria.
Firstly, they have smart optical ethernet solutions to greatly reduce the cost of the service provider and at the same time they have strong customer support either through product or trial commitments.

Mature company:
ONI, Extreme Network and Riverstone undoubtly have a solid customer base , proven products in several large service provider.
Their GigaEthernet solution have convinced the most customer in the recent months.
My understanding about foundry networks is that they too have great products, but their customer committments are relatively smaller in the above mentioned group.

Startup and pure optical ethernet company:
IF the optical ethernet solution is so successful, like what predicted by optical oracle, then these companies definitely make it to the STARS. Their solutions are so simple and their ports are cheap. They are the pioneer in selling the "plug and play"
optical ethernet transport story. They are one of those start-ups that have the biggest customer trials and stir the most interest in the recent months. In fact, a lot of the stories about optical ethernet market research prediction is base on their buz proposal in reducing great operation and equipment cost for service provider. A lot of trials but the weakest is that
they have yet to capture any market share( optical ethernet as the transport solution has yet been proven.)

Alternative RPR, DPT
There are these group of companies that want to capture the best of both world, (SONET 's reliability and protection and yet able to sell the ethernet story.)
Nortel, luminous and lantern communcations are the pioneer of this group, while Cisco come strongly after this area calling it their legency DPT. I m not here to judge their standards, but their customers' interest are overwhelmed.

My research has insufficient information and therefore request lightreading to make further analysis on this issue.
All these comments are also meant to urge other research firms to evaluate these companies and produce better methodology towards this market research.

Any comment to improve on my analysis is welcome.
Neophone 12/4/2012 | 7:50:02 PM
re: Optical Ethernet Rules here, as my markets experience, some new
carrier&NSP&ISP maybe need RPR product,providing
voice,IP together, don't need extra SDH boxes.
but for some mature carrier, they have big
rransport infrastructure, so pure ethernet will
may be enough.
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