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22 March 2011
An explosion of 100Gbps field trial activity, product announcements and commercial shipments is coming in 2011, signalling the start of serious commercial activity in 2012, according to a new report from Heavy Reading. Now is the time for suppliers to engage their customers about 100G products and roadmaps, says Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading and author of the report.
 
"Heavy Reading surveys reveal that nearly 45% of network operators expect to make purchasing decisions on 100G by the end of 2011,” Perrin said. “Another third said the decision would be made in 2012. Now, even staunch 40G proponents realize that 100G is the technology endgame, and that 40G opportunities will be severely limited without a solid 100G roadmap in place."
 
The survey also showed that operators view 100G as a mass-market, backbone transport technology to ultimately replace 10G, not as a niche. Network capacity exhaust and better economics compared with 10G were identified as two of the top three drivers for 100G transport. Historically, when these drivers are met, transport technology becomes a mass-market or “default” solution in the network.

Ciena and Alcatel-Lucent are the leaders in 100G at this very early stage, with each vendor shipping 100G transport systems for revenue. Combined, the two vendors can count seven commercial customers and two dozen field trials to date. Behind Alcatel-Lucent and Ciena, both Huawei (the leader in 40G transport) and Infinera are aggressively pursuing 100G.
 
By Pauline Rigby