The market for packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) has grown rapidly, and shows no likelihood of slowing substantially in the coming years.
Demand for new transport platforms that can deliver higher speeds, higher densities and improved efficiency compared to legacy time-division multiplexing (TDM) transport architectures, and the desire to collapse separate transport layers into a single managed infrastructure, have meant that P-OTS has quickly evolved to support operators in all parts of their network.
P-OTS devices are now available for deployment in the access network all the way through to the core. Operators have a wide choice of form factors, migration paths from legacy to next-generation solutions, Layer 2/3 combinations and vendors.
One of the areas experiencing the fastest change is the aggregation/edge network, where the need to aggregate an increasing number of access services delivered over 10-GigE connections has been putting real pressure on the infrastructure. Vendors are working hard to add 100G capability -- both in the form of 100Gbit/s optical wavelengths and in the form of 100GigE connections. This is set to be a key battleground as operators continue to demand increased density and improved cost profiles.
Several vendors have added 100G capability to their P-OTS platforms; a few are already working toward 200G and 400G options but many others cite 100G capability as a near-term roadmap item.
100G capability designed for the core is not sufficiently compact for edge/aggregation deployments, and work is afoot to make the technology more suitable for installation closer to the customer. Vendors are looking to the latest generations of coherent optical networking technologies, and smaller pluggable or in-blade form factors (including embedded technology options) to help them bring dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) much closer to the end user.
The market is highly fragmented -- even more so in the aggregation/edge part of the network than the metro/core -- and we expect the availability of market-leading optical and GigE interfaces to become a significant differentiating feature in the next couple of years.
The latest Heavy Reading Insider, "Competitive Analysis: P-OTS for Edge/Aggregation Networks," analyzes the positioning of 13 leading players in the P-OTS market. It reviews the breadth of their packet-optical transport portfolios, and the range of features they offer. It considers 100G capability, alongside a range of other important differentiating facilities such as software-defined networking (SDN) support, optical transport network (OTN) and packet switching capability, connection-oriented Ethernet capability, CE 2.0 certification and ROADM upgrade options. It assesses their customer base/market success, looks at how they differentiate their offers for telecom network operators, and the third-party buzz their product strategies have been generating.
It shows that vendors vary tremendously in their go-to-market strategies and goes on to rank the players in order to identify market leaders in the packet-optical transport market.
— Simon Sherrington, Analyst, Heavy Reading Insider
Competitive Analysis: P-OTS for Edge/Aggregation Networks, a 28-page report, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Heavy Reading Insider, priced at $1,595. This report is available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/insider.