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8 Ethernet predictions for 2014

Comcast Business sees Ethernet services broadening in addressable markets, capabilities next year

By , Network World
December 06, 2013 08:30 AM ET

Network World - Among the many expectations for IT in 2014, Ethernet is projected to broaden its penetration in the metro area and the WAN. The ubiquitous technology will become further entrenched as a broadband access, cloud interconnect and wide area medium, further distancing itself from legacy TDM services. Here are eight predictions for Ethernet in the New Year, from service provider Comcast Business Services:

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1) 10 Mbps Ethernet is the new T-1

The city of West Haven, Conn., has a combination of 10Mbps and 20Mbps Ethernet connections that link City Hall with 17 other municipal locations. This is becoming the norm in cities around the country, according to Mike Tighe, executive director of data services at Comcast Business. It will continue throughout 2014, especially as fiber becomes more prevalent, he says.

2) It’s the beginning of the end for TDM as the primary access technology

And as T1 gives way to Ethernet, so does TDM in favor of packet and wavelength services. Citing data from Vertical Systems Group, Comcast says 2012 was the first year that saw global bandwidth purchased for business Ethernet surpass installed legacy services bandwidth. That gap will widen next year and beyond.

[THE DRIVER: Data centers drove Ethernet sales in Q3, says IDC]

[MORE: 20 milestones in Ethernet's first 40 years]

3) The distinction between Ethernet LAN and WAN blurs

McMenamins, a family-owned business which operates numerous pubs, breweries, music venues, hotels and theaters in Oregon and Washington, is using Ethernet, services to connect a number of locations in both states. WAN bandwidth used to be the bottleneck between Ethernet LANs across distances. Ethernet will continue to remove that bottleneck in 2014.

4) Metro Ethernet will be redefined – taking the “metro” out of Metro Ethernet

In keeping with the three previous predictions, snack maker Utz Quality Foods replaced T-1s with Ethernet to connect facilities in Hanover, Pa., and Sterling and Fitchburg, Mass.. Tighe says he lobbied the Metro Ethernet Forum to take “Metro” out of its name and replace it with “Carrier,” to no avail. But clearly, he says, Ethernet’s applicability is moving beyond the metro area into just about every market telecom touches. He believes the “metro” qualifier will be dropped for Ethernet services next year.

5) Private cloud dedicated interconnect really starts to matter

One of those expanded markets for Ethernet services is in cloud interconnect. Union Station Technology Center in South Bend, Ind., is a provider of wholesale data center, carrier and digital services that uses Ethernet to provide connectivity options to its hundreds of regional, national, and international customers. Indeed, we see Ethernet switches from vendors like Cisco being positioned more as data center interconnect devices. Increasingly, more and more cloud providers will do likewise, Tighe believes.

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