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17 May 2011
The vast majority of operators will adopt Optical Transport Network (OTN) switching technology in their networks, according to the latest survey by Infonetics Research. All the carriers interviewed by the market research firm have deployed OTN interfaces for optical transport, while most plan to use OTN as part of their switching equipment in the next three years.
“There is a huge shift between now and 2014 in the area of optical switching, with the number of carriers with plans to deploy OTN interfaces on electrical switching equipment rising from 37% to 84%,” says Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst for optical at Infonetics Research.  Operators adopting OTN switching was not a surprise for Infonetics but the scale of the adoption was. “OTN switching is new, there are not many vendors that will have this capability,” says Schmitt. "Huawei and Ciena are really the leaders here.”

OTN has become the technology of choice for optical transport communications, replacing SONET/SDH. OTN is used to define interfaces and to encapsulate various traffic types such as SONET/SDH, Ethernet and video for transport and switching across the network. The standard also supports performance monitoring and network management. The signal data rates of OTN range from ODU-0 (optical data unit) at 1.244Gbps to ODU-4 at 100Gbps.

Other findings of Infonetics’ survey include: 74% of respondent service providers said they plan to eventually deploy electrical ODU-0 switching; 71% of the carriers have or will deploy ODU-0/1/2 switching in the core and metro networks by the end of 2011; and that by 2014, 40Gbps and 100Gbps ODU switching will be prevalent in over half of all metro networks.

The service providers interviewed account for 23% of the worldwide telecom capital expenditure in 2010. Just over half are incumbents, a third are competitive operators, with the rest being mobile operators. The operators interviewed are located in North America, EMEA, Asia Pacific, Central and Latin America.

By Roy Rubenstein