By Jim Poole
Metro Ethernet Forum has been instrumental in raising the profile of Carrier Ethernet and in doing so has vastly increased the market size in the ten years it has been operating, but according to Chen, “This is just the beginning.”
Chen continued, explaining that in 2001 the Carrier Ethernet market was “highly fragmented with every carrier speaking a different language” – there were a number of large players, but without a unified strategy they were moving in different directions, and ultimately failing to sell the concept of Carrier Ethernet very well to potential customers.
Looking at the situation today, Carrier Ethernet has grown almost beyond recognition with Infonetics’ latest predictions claiming that the global market for Carrier Ethernet will be worth $31.5Bn by 2015.
Both Howard and Chen agreed that one of the key drivers of this growth in recent years has been the rapidly expanding market for mobile backhaul as the internet is both increasingly data heavy and more regularly accessed through mobile devices like smartphones.
Howard revealed that in 2010, 27% of global Carrier Ethernet deployments were for backhaul, but predicts this figure to rise to 85% by 2015.
Similarly Chen commented, “Mobile backhaul is a key driver for Ethernet today, along with cloud computing and business services.”
However bringing the discussion back to Chen’s comment that this is the beginning, Howard posed the question, “Where are we going now, and what does the perfect Carrier Ethernet look like?”
In his answer Chen used the analogy of the current telephony system, where we have a level of automated interconnection that allows the user to simply pick up a handset, dial a number, and end up connected to almost any circuit in the world.
Ubiquitous chuckling and the odd bit of scoffing from the audience reveals that Ethernet is a long way from that lofty ideal at the moment. However the experts think there is a lot of growth yet to come. In another ten years, who knows?
A video extract (unedited) of the session is available for download.. In this excerpt, Chen explains his view on why the MEF has been so successful in unifying the efforts of over 200 carriers.