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Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge

Ray Le Maistre
10/31/2006

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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optodoofus
optodoofus
12/5/2012 | 3:36:28 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
I guess they have nothing better to do than to vote in LightReading polls.

optodoofus
digits
digits
12/5/2012 | 3:36:27 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
optodoofus

Do you think *only* Nortel employees would vote for PBT over MPLS?

Ray
yarn
yarn
12/5/2012 | 3:36:27 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
Not really. I ran the numbers and compared total OPEX spent on PBT vs MPLS deployments and sure enough, PBT is the clear winner with zero OPEX.
uguess
uguess
12/5/2012 | 3:36:27 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
Don't see a future of PBT especially with NT. NT will manage to kill it themselves.

uguess
optodoofus
optodoofus
12/5/2012 | 3:36:26 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
Ray,

I certainly think that Nortel employees have a vested interest in promoting PBT since it is their only Ethernet solution. I also believe that anyone saying that they would choose to deploy an unproven, relatively immature technology being hawked (essentially) by a single vendor in a carrier-class environment is poorly informed (at best).

I admit that MPLS is very complex. But it has also been around for a while and bugs have been shaken out. If I had to make a deployment decision immediately, I think MPLS would be a much realistic choice. Whether you would *prefer* the answer to be PBT is a different issue, and not what the poll asked.

optodoofus

digits
digits
12/5/2012 | 3:36:25 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
Re: "Whether you would *prefer* the answer to be PBT is a different issue, and not what the poll asked."

We could always do another poll.... :-)

Whatever the outcome of the 'PBT vs MPLS' battle for carrier hearts and minds, just the introduction of the PBT concept is sure making backbone transport a whole lot more interesting at the moment. Competition, however questionable, is always good for the market, yes?
mr zippy
mr zippy
12/5/2012 | 3:36:23 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
Oops, I should read other comments first! Said the same thing as others.
mr zippy
mr zippy
12/5/2012 | 3:36:23 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
Surely PBT, as a technology, is no where as mature and feature complete/requirement matching as MPLS at this point ? I'd have to wonder if it would be wise of those 63% of respondants to decide to deploy a technology that seems to be relatively new, appears to only available at this point from one vendor, and doesn't have anywhere the field or interoperatbility testing that MPLS does. Are people just selecting the PBT option in the poll because it is new or different, rather than because it solves the same sorts of propblems that MPLS does in either a cheaper or more flexible way ?
desiEngineer
desiEngineer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:22 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
Ray: "Competition, however questionable, is always good for the market, yes?"

You mean you want Republicans around?

-desi
desiEngineer
desiEngineer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:22 AM
re: Poll: Opex Gives PBT an Edge
Ray: "Whatever the outcome of the 'PBT vs MPLS' battle for carrier hearts and minds, just the introduction of the PBT concept is sure making backbone transport a whole lot more interesting at the moment. Competition, however questionable, is always good for the market, yes?"

So the results of the poll right now say more MPLS than PBT. That in itself is not surprising. I, for one, completely ignored the poll because I don't take PBT seriously. But this 'ere article "galvanized" me.

Anyway, what I found from your poll is that the Ethernet World of Telecom divides more or less evenly into two parts, MPLS and PBT, ignoring the spoiler 1%.

Anyone seriously believe that? (Pregnant pause) Naah, I didn't think so. OK, we're done.

-desi
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