The advent of Ethernet over dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) is one of the key factors contributing to renewed interest in wavelength services. Wavelength services are less-expensive alternatives to synchronous optical networking (SONET) services for service providers and enterprises, and they have become an increasingly attractive option because of current economic conditions.
Carriers that need capacity for bandwidth-intensive services and are willing to sacrifice the protection from high-speed SONET connections are migrating their bandwidth needs to wavelength services. Internet service providers (ISPs) and wireless service providers represent a major chunk of the spending in the wholesale wavelength services market.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (ipcommunications.frost.com), U.S. Wavelength Services Market, finds that the market earned revenues of over $1.2 billion in 2008 and estimates this to reach $2.0 billion in 2014.
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"There is a growing demand from key verticals such as financial services, healthcare and government for native as well as Ethernet over Waves services," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst. Roopashree H. "The growth rates for wavelength services outpaced the growth rates of SONET, and this is partly due to Ethernet over Waves, and partly because of customers seeking a combination of higher bandwidth, reduced equipment requirements, and savings on power consumption."
The U.S. wavelength services market is considered a growth market at this stage. Though native wave services such as OC-48 (2.5Gbps) are in a mature stage, the recent attention that Ethernet has gained as a wide area network (WAN) transport service is positively impacting the wavelength services market. OC-192 is gaining rapid adoption as most service providers have embraced OC-192 to offer 10GigE service.
Finished Ethernet over waves products, particularly 10GigE local area network/physical layer (LAN PHY) and wide area network (WAN PHY) services -- are seeing a surge in demand both in the wholesale and retail sectors. High-bandwidth applications that encompass video conferencing, business continuity/disaster recovery, data center connectivity, and storage area networking are driving the demand for Ethernet over Waves services.
Differentiating wavelength services continues to be a major challenge for service providers. Native wavelength services are sold as plain high-speed bandwidth with limited scope for any kind of value-added services. Customers usually buy a transparent wave and use it for whatever application they intend to run on it, or sometimes they just ask for either 2.5Gbps or 10Gbps ports, without paying much attention to whether the service is waves over SONET or Ethernet.
"The highly commoditized nature of wavelength services, as well as the fact that the service has so far been largely limited to the wholesale space and long haul services, has not forced service providers to offer much of value addition along with the service," cautions Roopashree. "So, most carriers in the market offer similar services, with the only differentiation being price, and price again varies from customer to customer depending on the number of carriers competing in a given market and the size of the customer."
Thus, pricing is an important criterion for customers while choosing a wavelength service provider. Emphasis must be placed on configuration and architecture, and participants in this arena must deliver best-of-breed solutions that offer scalability and flexibility for fast-track business progression.
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U.S. Wavelength Services Market / N140