MPLS Will Outgun ATM, Says Poll

In five years' time, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) will play a more important role in metro networks than Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), and Ethernet will be more pervasive than Sonet/SDH, according to this month's Light Reading Research Poll.

The poll asks respondents to forecast the relative importance of different protocols in metro networks in 2007. And the results so far, from just over 150 users, make interesting reading.

Ethernet has a rosy future, according to survey respondents. 37 percent of them say it will be "crucial" in metro networks, and another 36 percent say it will be "very important."

This exceeds support for Sonet/SDH. Only 14 percent say that it will be "crucial" in metro networks in five years' time, while 35 percent say it will be "very important."

As already noted, MPLS gets more support than ATM, the two protocols associated with being able to guarantee quality of service. MPLS will be "very important" by 2007 according to 28 percent of respondents. The comparable figure for ATM is a mere seven percent.

Resilient Packet Ring (RPR) technology gets a resounding "don't know" with votes split evenly across "very important," "important," "fairly unimportant," and "unimportant."

In reality, all of these protocols are likely to coexist in different parts of carrier networks, as Light Reading's recent report on metro technologies explains (see Metro Multiservices Evolution).

Other results of Light Reading's Research Poll show that most respondents (60 percent) think boosting revenue should be the top priority for carriers building metro networks. Just 39 percent believe cutting costs is more important.

The best way to boost revenue in metro networks is to reach new customers, according to 37 percent of respondents. That could mean extending geographic coverage or offering a wider range of services. The next-best ways to generate revenue are to speed up provisioning times (21 percent) or offer higher-bandwidth services (20 percent). The most effective way to cut costs is to use bandwidth more efficiently, according to 45 percent of respondents. Next comes cutting equipment costs (29 percent), followed by cutting maintenance staff requirements (20 percent).

Want more details? Take Light Reading's Research Poll yourself by clicking here. — Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

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