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How close is the 100G future?

December 13, 2012

John Hayduk   

Blog Contributor

By upgrading networks to 100G, service providers are investing in the future of their networks and securing future capacity demand. The challenge is deciding when to do it.

In the network, we’ve been satisfied with 10G for quite some time now. But with the need for ever-greater capacity, carriers are evaluating when to make the move and upgrade their networks in order to remain competitive.

There was a lot of talk in the industry about 40G and its role in the future of carrier business, however there hasn’t been a great amount of uptake and deployment of the services. Why? It came down to simple economics. The cost of deploying 40G against 10G didn’t make sense, particularly in light of the fact that the specs for 100G were evolving, and offering the possibility of far greater capacity increases.  It simply wasn’t in the right spot to deliver a compelling price point.

The capabilities of 100G are meaning that more and more carriers are going to upgrade their networks in the next few years. Its ability to deliver greater, and faster, connectivity means that it makes far more economic sense to deploy 100G over 40G. The cost per bit for 100G is becoming increasingly attractive and vendors are showing their readiness to deliver the right equipment at the right price point.

At the moment 100G is not that widespread, but I would say within the next two years we are going to see it deployed on a large scale for terrestrial services. For sub-sea deployments we are going to have to wait a little longer for a full upgrade. In 2013, the vendors will be ready for 100G subsea upgrades, but for some of the longer network segments, we will have to wait. If a carrier is upgrading, for example a pan-Atlantic section of cable, it is a huge investment in time, resources and money. The service provider needs to be sure that the investment won’t sacrifice their overall system capacity.

100G is an investment that carriers need to make and while the future may not be 40G, the leap to 100G is increasingly making more sense.