Ethernet equipment

PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical

A Heavy Reading survey of 15 packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) vendors finds support faltering for Provider Backbone Bridging – Traffic Engineering (PBB-TE).

"There has been a marked swing among this community of vendors away from PBT/PBB-TE toward pre-standard MPLS-TP," analyst Simon Sherrington writes in the recent Heavy Reading Insider report, "Vendors Bet a Packet on Optical."

PBB-TE is by no means abandoned, but the numbers are rather clear. Of 15 vendors that listed plans for connection-oriented Ethernet, six said they support PBB-TE or will in the future. By contrast, all 15 supported MPLS-TP.

(A 16th vendor, Hitachi Communication Technologies America Inc. (Hitachi-CTA) , abstained from the vote, as it hasn't disclosed all details about its packet-optical transport. But Hitachi did tell Sherrington it plans to include MPLS-TP for supporting long-haul needs.)

Vendors from the PBB-TE camp have described their MPLS-TP support as a matter of giving choices to the carriers. But PBB-TE has lost some supporters -- notably Nortel Networks Ltd. and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) -- while MPLS-TP overall has gained interest. (See Asia/Pacific Warms to MPLS-TP.)

The report surveys 16 vendors' P-OTS positioning and describes some of the reasoning behind P-OTS's popularity. (See 'Make Do & Mend' Attitude Delays Packet Optical Revolution and Insider: Packet Optical a Cost Cutter.)

The vendors included in the report include ADVA Optical Networking , Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Cyan Optics Inc. , ECI Telecom Ltd. , Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. , Hitachi, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , MRV Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: MRVC), Nokia Networks , Nortel (although the products in question are now with Ciena), Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), Transmode Systems AB , UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI), and Xtera Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: XCOM)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:37:26 PM
re: PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical

How much of a value proposition does PBB-TE have left at this point, I wonder.  Vendors supporting it have no particular reason to stop, but it would seem like anything greenfield would have to go with MPLS-TP.

Sterling Perrin 12/5/2012 | 4:37:12 PM
re: PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical Craig,
One advantage is that PBB-TE is a standard and MPLS-TP standardization is still a ways off - there's still some risk there for operators.
Also, some organizations do prefer PBB-TE over MPLS variants.

Sterling Perrin 12/5/2012 | 4:37:05 PM
re: PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical

jps -

I moderated an operator panel at Ethernet Expo NY last year and two of the operators on that panel - Mzima and Lightower - both stated they use and prefer PBB-TE. Transport centric organizations may prefer PBB-TE, or transport groups within large organizations may prefer PBB-TE, while the IP group may prefer IP/MPLS. As with BT, the decision may hinge on which groups holds the power.


jps1024 12/5/2012 | 4:37:05 PM
re: PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical

"some organizations do prefer PBB-TE over MPLS variants."

Care to elaborate?

jps1024 12/5/2012 | 4:37:04 PM
re: PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical

Interesting. I was recently attending Carrier Ethernet Europe in London and PBB-TE was barely mentioned. Unlike MPLS-TP.

My (admittedly limited) contacts with network operators also indicate a preference towards MPLS-TP.

Could we be witnessing the start of a trend here?

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