If 2012 proved to be the peak year for 40G shipments worldwide, led by demand in Japan and China, this year is shaping up as a take off point for 100G optical networks.
In Q2 2013, telecom equipment vendors saw optical network equipment sales reach US$3.3 billion, according to Infonetics Research. Spending on optical networking equipment was up 27 percent from Q1 2013, with Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) spending up 21 percent from 2012 levels, according to Andrew Schmidt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research.
Overall, 100G looks set to account for 15 percent of total optical networks equipment sales in 2013 and long-term growth looks just as promising, while 100G accounted for just 5 percent of deployed wavelength in 2012, it is expected to account for 37 percent by 2015, according to Infonetics analysts.
Driving demand for high-speed networks is streaming video and the integration of the internet into daily life, whether for business, school assignments, entertainment or for everyday chores from finding directions to a restaurant to online banking. By 2015, 55 percent of all global internet traffic is expected to be video with a clear trend toward video on demand (VOD) due to its increased personalisation and accessible pricing. To use the term coined by John D'Ambrosia, chair of the new IEEE 802.3 400Gb/s Ethernet Study Group, "We are facing an imminent bandwidth tsunami.
Every day, unexpected floods of exabyte traffic are washing over the 10G and 40G networks. Many operators and service providers are struggling to secure a spot on the "optical highlands" so that they will not be swept away and drowned by the tsunami.
By the end of the decade, 20 billion "smart" devices will be connected to the network with the bulk of that traffic expected to be in the Asia-Pacific region. In fact, many forward-looking carriers across the Asia Pacific region are moving quickly to deploy high speed optical networks to cope with the expected traffic.
Across the region, service providers are now starting the move from 40G to 100G. At the heart of the 100G revolution, we are starting to see a gradual change of operators' perception towards transport networks, from a cost centre to an easy-to-manage revenue enabler. Last year likely saw 40G shipments peak worldwide, led by demand in Japan and China. In 2013, however, Chinese service providers—China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom—began the move to 100G networks.
Deployments are not limited to China. Several ASEAN markets are also taking advantage of 100G's lightning fast technology. On the high-end of the spectrum, for instance, we've seen Epsilon in Singapore, the largest global network exchange, moving to 100G.
With an aim to significantly increase capacity and flexibility, Epsilon is deploying 100G to meet the ever higher expectations of close to 500 carriers and service providers worldwide. It is important to note that each of its carrier subscribers also shares a need to address acute demands from their own enterprise customers for advanced services such as high-definition video, high-speed Internet access, and voice-over-IP content delivery networks. Building upon its existing WDM-based infrastructure, Epsilon has turned to a converged optical and IP solution that allows enterprise networks to expand capacity to 100G and even 400G down the road.
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