The growing momentum of Ethernet usage in the enterprise is propelling much of the boom in fiber that, in turn, will propel a 37 percent compound annual growth rate of fiber-access networks, according to a new study.
"Ethernet is encroaching on ATM-based technologies," said Sterling Perrin of IDC in an interview Thursday. "Ethernet has matured. It's simple. It's well-known. It's ubiquitous. It's very low cost." In a new study authored by Perrin, who is senior research analyst of Optical Networks at the market-research firm, IDC predicted that the fiber-access-equipment market will jump from $503 million, in 2003, to $2.4 billion, by 2008.
Noting that a wholesale migration from copper to fiber began relatively recently, Perrin said the changeover will take decades to accomplish. He added that the market will be somewhat skewed with different regions, different telecommunications service providers, and different technologies logging different growth timetables.
"The RBOCs [former regional Bell operating companies] are looking to push fiber anywhere they have DSL today," he said. "They are looking at high-speed broadband and at doing video over fiber." Perrin added that the RBOCs tend to be somewhat skewed in their approach to fiber--their consumer markets tend to be more ATM-based (asynchronous transfer mode), while their business customers are more interested in Ethernet-based solutions.
Enterprise and business customers who already have Ethernet LANs are more attuned to adding Ethernet in their WLANs, and the best way to accomplish the build-out is to add fiber. Gradually, Ethernet will become the dominant technology replacing ATM-based passive optical networks (APON) and G.983 technologies, Perrin said.