Infonetics: Carrier Ethernet Market is Booming; MEF Announces CE 2.0

Carrier Ethernet Market Status and Forecast:

On February 23rd, Infonetics Research co-founder Michael Howard led off the Ethernet Technology Summit – Market Research session with his Carrier Ethernet market assessment and forecast. Here are the highlights:

-Carrier Ethernet Equipment market is booming with $37.5B worlwide revenues forecasted for 2015.  The cumulative 2005 to 2010 CE market was $101B.

-Ethernet dominates worldwide mobile backhaul carrier spending with $6.4B or 91% of the 2011 mobile backhaul equipment market (that’s Ethernet over copper, microwave or fiber between the cell tower and the long haul carrier/ISP point of presence, and on to the controller site and/or mobile switching center.  In 2012, Ethernet based mobile backhaul accounts for 40% of physical connections of all types of mobile/cellular backhaul (e.g., TDM, IP, etc) in the world. It’s projected to be 95% of the mobile backhaul connections market by 2015.

-Network Operator Carrier Ethernet services (Ethernet Private Line, Virtual Private Line, Virtual Private LAN, Ethernet as access for IP VPNs) will be a $49B worldwide market in 2015. [this includes both retail and wholesale].  The cumulative 2010-2015 Carrier Ethernet market (total sales) is expected to be $93B.

-Big growth is foreseen for CE: Routers, Switches and optical networking/transport (Ethernet over DWDM) equipment.  Ethernet over microwave growth is accelerating.


After many years of slow growth, it’s great to see the Carrier Ethernet market now “booming.” Note that the MEF has been in existance for 10 years and that the IEEE 802.3ah Ethernet First Mile (EFM) standard was completed in 2003. Yet the Carrier Ethernet market really didn’t start to ramp till 2010 or 2011.

It’s somewhat surprising that mobile network operators are using Ethernet based backhaul when they still have so much TDM based cellular voice (even though mobile data traffic has now eclipsed voice, it’s voice that pays most of the bills).  We see tremendous promise and potential for Ethernet over fiber backhaul for the exponentially growing 4G data traffic.

For information on XO Communications Carrier Ethernet service offerings (EoC, EoFiber, Direct Internet Access via Ethernet, and others) please contact: XO Sales Executive Mike Weiss: [email protected]

MEF announces CE 2.0:

Carrier Ethernet 2.0, announced February 23, 2012 by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), is characterized by three powerful and standardized features: Multiple Classes of Service (Multi-CoS), Interconnect and Manageability.  Collectively, these enable the delivery of differentiated applications over managed and interconnected global networks. CE 2.0 is generationally advanced from the standardized Ethernet services delivered over a single provider’s network which are now called Carrier Ethernet 1.0 (CE 1.0).

CE 2.0 greatly expands from 3 services in CE 1.0 to eight services, two of each respectively in E-Line, E-LAN, E-Tree, and E-Access, as defined in MEF Service Specifications and Implementation Agreements (MEF 6.1, 6.1.1, 22.1,33). CE 2.0 carries newly standardized service features of Multi-CoS (Class of Service) with Performance Objectives, Interconnect and Manageability.  These are facilitated through the integrated delivery of MEF Service Attributes (MEF 10.2, 10.2.1, 26.1), Implementation Agreements (MEF 13, 20, 23.1) and Management Specifications (MEF 7.1, 16, 17, 30, 31).

“For the Enterprise, CE 2.0 will mean more consistent performance levels and associated SLA’s regardless of office location; It will also enable enterprises to reach all their offices more efficiently on a global basis.  For the small/medium business, it will further the availability of capabilities such as Internet and hosted services on a single Carrier Ethernet connection, with higher SLA’s for those hosted services,” said Mike Volgende, Chairman of the MEF Board, and Director of Business Process Management at Verizon.

“For network equipment manufacturers, it means additional new markets and opportunities, augmenting already hot-selling Carrier Ethernet equipment.” said Phil Tilley, MEF Global Marketing Committee Co-Chair, Alcatel-Lucent Director Portfolio Strategy.

“For mobile operators, it means a foundation for additional efficiencies and cost-savings through implementation of Mobile-Backhaul-specific Multi-CoS performance objectives, packet and network-based synchronization, resiliency performance, and service OAM fault management.”

“For the retail service providers, it means that they can expand their footprint more efficiently globally; It also means the guarantee of certain performance criteria whether on or off net.” said Carlos Benavides, MEF Global Marketing Committee Co-Chair, Verizon Group Manager for Access Strategy.

“For the wholesale provider, it means increased revenue by more easily wholesaling existing footprint; it also means the standardized performance that must be delivered from the access network.”

“CE 2.0 underscores the MEF’s commitment to advance the industry and further promote the global adoption of Ethernet services through a new generation of standards,” said Karen Schmidt, MEF Board Member, Executive Director of Data Product Management & Strategy at Comcast Business Services. “Comcast has long-supported the standardization of Carrier Ethernet and we look forward to working with the MEF on CE 2.0 and the benefits it will bring to our mid-market customers.”


We are anxious to see what will come out of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 and if operators will wait a very long time to deploy it (as they did with CE 1.0). Technology uncertainty has previously delayed many new, cost effective services to SMBs.


Quicktake from Ethernet Tech Summit: Ethernet’s Changing Role in the Data Center

As you might expect, the the Ethernet Technology Summit, Feb 21-23, 2012 in San Jose, CA, explored the many ways in that Ethernet is everywhere.  In particular:

• Broadband access: Ethernet over Copper is Ethernet over VSDL or ADSL,  EPONs have been deployed in Japan, Korea, China and elsewhere in Asia

• Transport:  100GE being deployed now in carrier exchanges and long haul networks; Ethernet over OTN (OTU3/4)

•  Cloud Computing:  MEF specified “Connection Oriented Ethernet” for WAN to deliver Private Cloud services to enterprise customer premises

 • Wireless:  Mobile backhaul, Wi-Fi

• LAN:  Ethernet origination in workgroup LANs to campus LANs to metro LANs and Virtual Private LANs

• Data Center:  Enhanced Ethernet with higher speeds (10GE and 40GE) on the horizon

Here are a few Data Center (DC) Trends:
• Server Consolidation and virtualization
• Leading to very large Data Centers
• 600K+ virtual servers in a Data Center
• Scale to 1 million networked devices in a facility
• Efficiency drives many decisions
• Few percent improvements can save $ millions
• Need to scale compute, network, and storage efficiently
• Operations Expenses driving decision
• Power is an important metric
• Need for consolidated management

DC Efficiency Drivers:
• Data center optimized servers
• Eliminate unnecessary components
• Higher efficiency cooling
• Standardized servers for low cost
• Google servers , Facebook Open Compute, Microsoft’s server concept
• Flatter networks for better scaling
• TRILL/Rbridges, Shortest Path Bridging
• Standard interfaces with OpenFlow
• Virtual data centers
• Workload migration between data centers
• Network becomes a simple data backplane
• Separate intelligence

DC’s Focus on Power Efficiency:
• Many now track PUE (Power Usage Efficiency)
• Ratio of power used by IT (servers) to total facility power
• Facility includes cooling and power distribution
• PUE of 2.0 is average
• New facilities targeting PUE of 1.5 or below
• Also need to improve perf per watt
• Power is generally the limiting factor per rack and per data center
• More than a third of total cost of ownership (TCO) is proportional to electrical usage=power consumed
• Leads to Rising Demand for Power Efficient Processors


New Opportunity with 10GE:  LAN on Motherboard (LOM) =servers use 10GBaseT component on PC motherboard for access link to DC 10GE Switch.  Expected to happen in 2013-2014.

Source:  Jag Bolaria,  Analyst at Linley Group

Another view of the Data Center:
– 1GE links are saturated and won’t grow much
• 80% of today’s server connections are 1 Gigabit
• 1000BASE-T dominates due to cost, flexibility, low-power
• 10G used primarily for uplinks on TOR switches & aggregation

Today’s Data Center 
– 10G Growing
• ~80% of today’s server connections are 1GbE
• ~20% of today’s server connections are 10GbE
• 10GbE price erosion driving volumes up
• ~200% YOY 2010 (Source Infonetics “Quarterly Worldwide and Regional Market Share, Size, and Forecasts”)

• Data center strategies are diverging
• Blade servers allow higher density, reduce
cabling, higher performance, higher efficiency
• Moving to 10GBASE-KR 
• Rack servers demanding 10G LOM/Mezzanine
• Dominated by SFP+ DAC
• Moving to 10GBASE-T due to cost, flexibility
• Virtualization leading to higher density, higher utilization of servers 
• More focus on energy efficiency
• Blade servers ahead on 10G deployment
• Rack servers trailing but growing faster

Tomorrow’s Data Center – 40GbE and New Architectures:
• Blade Servers moving to 40GbE swiftly
• Virtualization, Convergence, Efficiency Demands will lead to optimization of resources, higher utilization
• Demand for 100GbE aggregation is going to rise accordingly
• Existing 10x10G solutions are bulky, expensive, power hungry

In Thurs AM panel session on Connecting the Next Big Wave of Cloud Computing Infrastructure, Kamal Dalmia of Aquanta Corp said that “10GBASE-T is driving the growth and deployment of 10GE in Data Centers and Cloud Computing.”  The crossover, where 10GE shipments surpass 1GE shipments is expected to be late this year (2012).  10G BaseT is expected to enjoy exponential growth starting in 2013, while 1GE shipments are projected to decline sharply at that time.

For Ethernet Switches
• Cost: 10GBASE-T priced same as emptyoptical socket
• Backward Compatibility
–10G/1000/100BASE-T over RJ45
• Power: High density line cards possible
• Ubiquitous: UTP cable is everywhere (UTP category 6A has been installed in most Data Centers since 2008)

For Servers
• LAN on Motherboard (LOM) economics
–Knife switch transition at 3x price per port of GE
• Backward Compatibility
• Incremental Upgradeability in Data Centers

Summary: 10GBASE-T is driving the 10GE growth
• 10GBASE-T achieves lower cost, lower power, lower latency and higher densitythan Gigabit Ethernet on a per Gbit/s metric
• 10GBASE-T LOM servers start shipping this quarter
• 10GBASE-T switches available from major OEMs

Does Anyone Really Care about lack of Cloud Computing Standards? Who’s doing what?


At Cloud Connect 2012, there were several audience members clamoring for a common API that could be used to access cloud services from Amazon, Rackspace and other leading public cloud providers.  There was also discussion of the networking issues, with the consensus being that the public Internet could not provide the security, performance guarantees, reliability/availability that many larger companies need.  As a result, there are MEF efforts to position “Connection Oriented Ethernet” for private clouds.  (Connections are set up by the management plane used by the network operator).  Here’s a link to their latest whitepaper on Carrier Ethernet for Private Clouds:

For more on this topic, please see:  Cloud Connect 2012: WAN issues still unresolved

Yet the lack of standards and the resultant vendor lock-in doesn’t seem to bother most cloud users.  We think it will when they decide to change cloud service providers and have to start everything from scratch.  

Cloud Computing SDOs:

In fact, there are a number of organizations that ratify proposals for cloud standards and others that develop guidelines and provide information to those interested in cloud computing.  Some of the more important ones include (ITU-T and IEEE are NOT listed, as we had earlier written about on this web site):

  • The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) develops cloud interoperability and security standards. The DTMF created the Open Cloud Standards Incubator (OCSI) in 2009 to address the need for open management standards for cloud computing. An OCSI-produced white paper, Interoperable Clouds White Paper, helps users with questions about integrating computer, network and storage services from one or more cloud service providers into business and IT processes.
  • The mission of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security.
  • The Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) is a member-driven organization that develops reference implementations, benchmarks and standards for cloud computing.
  • The Open Grid Forum (OGF) is an open community committed to driving the rapid evolution and adoption of applied distributed computing. OGF accomplishes its work through open forums that build the community, explore trends, share best practices and consolidate these best practices into standards. OGF has launched the Open Cloud Computing Interface Working Group to deliver an open community, consensus-driven API, targeting cloud infrastructures.
  • The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has adopted the role of industry catalyst for the development of storage specifications and technologies, global standards, and storage education.
  • The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) publishes guidelines for secure cloud computing, and the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) is a vendor-neutral, open community of technology advocates and consumers dedicated to driving the rapid adoption of global cloud computing services.

There is also a wiki site for cloud standards coordination that documents the activities of the various standards organizations working on cloud standards and guidelines.

Immediately after an incredibly disappointed IEEE Inter-Cloud WG meeting, I wrote an article tracking various cloud related standards:

Cloud Computing Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and their output documents


We think the lack of cloud standards will create tremendous churn in the industry and limit market growth.  Until a solid set of cloud computing standards are established and implemented, users need to remain cautious moving to the cloud.

Optical Network Evolution, Status & Future to be explored at March 14th IEEE ComSocSCV meeting in Santa Clara, CA


Transport networks are continuously evolving and the ITU-T Optical Transport Network (OTN) is a case in point. In the last ten years OTN have seen tremendous advances in architecture, flexibility and its ability to transport present and future services. The latest generation of Optical Transport Platforms is integrating cost effectively wavelength switching, extended reach optics, connection oriented packet features and OTN/ODU (Optical Channel Data Unit) networking.

March 14 ComSocSCV meeting:  Evolution & Future of Optical Transport Networks; Photonic Integrated Circuits 

Representatives from Infinera Corp will describe the evolution of the ITU-T standardized Optical Transport Network (OTN), Super-Channels and future directions for DWDM based optical networks.  An overview of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) will also be presented. The three presentations will be followed by a lively panel session, with audience participation via pre-submitted questions and live Q and A.

Presentation Abstracts

1. Overview of Optical Transport Network (OTN) by Radhakrishna (Radha) Valiveti, Architect, System Architecture Group

Abstract: The first generation of OTN standards were defined by ITU-T Recommendation G.709 around the 1999-2001 timeframe. This generation of OTN standards supported SONET/SDH clients as their primary client signals. OTN standards have since undergone significant changes to support dominant Ethernet Client signals such as 1/10/40/100GE. The latest version of OTN standards are defined in G.709 [12/2009] and the key extensions include the support for the Ethernet client signals identified above, and a flexible rate ODU which can support client signals with arbitrary rates. At ITU-T, work has recently begun on the definition of the next generation of standard OTN containers. Infinera is actively tracking, and contributing to the emerging optical network standards. The talk will provide a status of the OTN standardization effort in ITU-T and discuss the evolution of OTN networks – from pure TDM networks to ones that efficiently carry a mix of TDM/packet flows. 

2. Super-channels and the Future of Optical Networks by Abhijeet Deore, Sr. Manager, Product Marketing

Abstract: Super-channels represent the future of the industry and bandwidth evolution to beyond what 100G can deliver. We will discuss what super-channels are, if and why they might be needed, and their benefits. The presentation will also cover a realistic timeline for super-channels, key building blocks that could enable super-channels in a practical real-world implementation and technological challenges of increasing fiber capacity in absence of super-channels. We’ll investigate whether the 100G coherent networks of now (and the near future) are well suited to evolving into super-channel optical networks. Super-channels are currently being discussed by the ITU-T SG15/WP2/Q6 standards group. 

3. Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) – Scaling Next Generation Optical Networks by Matthew Mitchell, Sr. Director, Optical Architecture

Abstract: Commercially produced photonic integrated circuits (PICs) used in optical networking equipment was brought to the market in 2004. This important technological breakthrough drastically simplified the design of an optical networking solution, increasing the density of the platform so more bandwidth can be carried by a smaller, more efficient platform. Infinera’s first generation PICs integrate 62 optical components onto a pair of monolithic chips and deliver 100 Gigabits per second of bandwidth capacity. This was the first time the technique of large-scale monolithic integration was applied to commercial photonic chips. Today, Infinera has produced PICs delivering five times the capacity onto a single pair of chips, integrating more than 600 optical functions. This presentation will describe how InP PICs are used in optical networking solutions and the advantages of PIC-based optical networking platforms. InP based integrated circuits provide high optical performance relative to a silicon or hybrid silicon optical approaches.

Meeting Details, Logistics and RSVP info is at:


ITU-T OTN Tutorial: 

PMC-Sierra OTN Tutorial:

Carriers Making Major Push to OTN

IEEE initiates smart grid community planning in its 10 global regions


IEEE intends to spearhead 10 community-based smart grid planning efforts around the world beginning this year, Wanda Reder, chair of the IEEE Smart Grid Task Force, told SmarGrid Today in an exclusive interview. IEEE is seeking utility partners in each of its 10 global regions to co-sponsor the event and implement the smart grid pilots in their service areas, she said, adding that several utilities already expressed interest. “We have reached out to utilities, there certainly is early interest,” Reder said. “We are kind of settling down on the plan and the budgets in order to get started here in 2012.” Given its reach and respectability, IEEE’s push could have an agenda-setting influence on the rest of the smart grid industry. Modeling the forthcoming fora after the National Grid and the City of Worcester, Mass, Green2Growth summit in September, Reder hopes IEEE can “templatize” that format for other cities and utilities to copy, she said. Reder was present for the second day of the two-day Green2Growth event, which was the centerpiece of National Grid’s revamped customer engagement plan for its 15,000-meter AMI pilot (SGT, Jan-03). The forum brought students, educators, government officials and activists together to envision what a greener Worcester should include. The summit focused on an “appreciative inquiry” method that begins with participants identifying their own leadership accomplishments and qualities, then moving on to what they would like to see Worcester do to become an idealistic, energy-conscious city (SGT, Sep-20).

IEEE has developed several communications standards for Smart Grid:

1)       IEEE P1775: Standard for Power Line Communication Equipment – EMC Requirements -Testing and Measurement Methods

2)       IEEE P1901: Standard for Broadband over Power Line Networks: MAC and PHY Specifications (

3)       IEEE P2030: Draft Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability ? Task Force 3: Communications Technology (