PBB-TE Shares the Stage

4:05 PM -- The former PBT, now called Provider Backbone Bridging – Traffic Engineering (PBB-TE), will make a showing at Packet-Optical Transport Evolution, tomorrow's conference being put on by Light Reading in New York City. Whether it puts up much of a fight, that's the question.

At least in terms of vendor PowerPoints, MPLS-TP has become ensconced in the Carrier Ethernet core and perhaps beyond. (See PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical, Asia/Pacific Warms to MPLS-TP, and MPLS-TP vs. PBB-TE.) And PBB-TE has certainly lost momentum. But that doesn't mean PBB-TE gets shoved off a cliff.

"The suppliers are going to be providing several different options. I don't think it's a religious war any more," says Heavy Reading analyst Stan Hubbard. "People will view it as, 'Let's use the best option to fit the application.' Those big battles that we saw vendors fighting a couple of years ago won't be that big any more."

Some carriers still carry the PBB-TE banner. Witness South African mobile operator iBurst Africa spelling out PBB-TE in its choice of Carrier Ethernet platforms. (See iBurst Deploys Ciena for Backhaul.)

That brings up an interesting point. Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) picked up technology from Nortel Networks Ltd. , PBB-TE's biggest supporter. (See Ciena Beats NSN to Buy Nortel's MEN and Ciena Nets PBT Man.) But Ciena had already struck a PBB-TE course with the acquisition of World Wide Packets. (See PBT Key to Ciena Acquisition.) That gear isn't really part of tomorrow's conference focus, but its success in wireless backhaul, with operators like iBurst, would seem to indicate that PBB-TE is still finding a place in the network.

"You can't really say PBB-TE is dead, I don't think, if the World Wide Packets stuff is doing well," Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Koda23 12/5/2012 | 4:35:54 PM
re: PBB-TE Shares the Stage

I heard a recent presentation in which the author stated that PBB-TE is not dead, but is finding more applications in metro/access networks rather than in the core transport network where MPLS-TP dominates.

The author also pointed out that PBB-TE is defined by IEEE, which tends to have its focus on the edge of the network, working inward towards the core, whereas ITU-T/IETF (which defined MPLS-TP) focus on the core and work outward towards the edge.

I thought this was an interesting viewpoint and also interesting to hear of these new backhaul applications around PBB-TE.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:35:52 PM
re: PBB-TE Shares the Stage

Thanks - always nice to know someone's listening. Tomorrow's sessions do include an afternoon panel on backhaul, but I'm not sure how much play PBB-TE will get in that discussion. We'll see.

jps1024 12/5/2012 | 4:35:48 PM
re: PBB-TE Shares the Stage

Craig, not only are we listening, some of us are very much interested in this topic. Please do keep us posted.

djbabar 12/5/2012 | 4:35:39 PM
re: PBB-TE Shares the Stage

Also very curious how the backhaul discussion went.  Wish I could have made it.  PBB-TE makes a lot of sense in metro/access side.  

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