Metro Ethernet Continues Upward Trend

Carl Weinschenk

It’s not news that metro and carrier Ethernet is growing by leaps and bounds. More precise measures of the progress that the technologies are making are offered by research released during the past month or so.

Last week, Vertical System Group named its “leader board” of global providers. The seven top finishers, in order of port share, according to Vertical: BT Global Services (UK); Orange Business (France); Verizon (U.S.); Colt (UK); AT&T (U.S.); NTT (Japan) and Level 3 (U.S.). The press release also identifies the leading global providers working outside their native countries. These are segmented into a Challenge tier and the Market Player tier.

Vertical also looks at the cable sector, which is the fastest-growing carrier Ethernet sector. MSOs’ cumulative size, however, is more than doubled by the telcos’. The spread now, according to Vertical, is 47 percent for the telephone companies and 20 percent for the cable operators. The story at FierceTelecom profiles the top domestic Ethernet providers. Two cable players show up in the group: The fifth largest is Cox and the seventh is Time Warner Cable.


Commentary by Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick suggests that the progress made by cable operators that was noted by Vertical was in line with other firms’ findings:

In the latest Cable Industry Insider report on the subject from our own research arm, Heavy Reading, analyst Steve Koppman found that cable operators now have more than a quarter of the U.S. Ethernet market, and an even greater share of the Metro Ethernet market. Further, the report predicts that cable’s overall Ethernet market share will approach 33 percent as Comcast expands its Metro Ethernet efforts.

In another study that was released last week, The Insight Research Corp. said that enterprises will spend more than $49 billion during the next five years on carrier Ethernet. The growth will be significant, according to the release:

US enterprises are expected to spend more than $49 billion over the next five years on Ethernet services provided by carriers, according to a new market research study from The Insight Research Corporation. Ethernet metro area and wide area services are ubiquitous, available from all major data service providers, including cable/MSOs, who are building a formidable base around Ethernet services in the small to mid-sized business market. Industry revenue is expected to grow from nearly $5.5 billion in 2013 to over $13 billion by 2018.

Carrier and metro Ethernet have always had inherent advantages because the protocols are from the extended family that also supports almost all local-area networks (LANs). That has led to sustained growth, though there have been some twists in the upward path.

This week, Infonetics released research that said global Ethernet switch sales—which apparently includes both enterprise and telecom sales—recovered during the second quarter from a slow first three months of the year. The research suggests that gains of 15 percent in North America overcame lethargy in other regions. Overall, the market was up 6 percent and ended at about $5 billion for the quarter. The press release offers more details of the research.



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