560 percent increase in data traffic on metro networks by 2017

A Bell Labs study released today by Alcatel-Lucent indicates that data traffic on metropolitan (metro) access and aggregation networks is set to increase by 560 percent by 2017, driven by demand for video and the proliferation of data centers.

Even more significantly, the study showed that by 2017 more than 75 percent of that traffic will stay in metro networks, as compared to 57 percent today.

Fast-rising demand for ultra-broadband access, video, cloud and other high-bandwidth services is driving enterprises, communications service providers and webscale companies to bring content closer to their customers to better manage quality of experience (QoE) and gain operational efficiencies.

The most popular video content, for instance, is being cached deeper in the network so it can be delivered to customers locally over metro networks rather then being accessed from a central cache over the backbone network. In addition, the growing demand for cloud services means that enterprises and operators are adding data centers within the metro area in order to support service delivery.

These shifting traffic patterns mean more traffic will now stay in the metro – 75 percent by 2017, as compared with 57 percent today. In contrast, only 25 percent of data traffic will traverse the backbone. Service providers require a network architecture that will ensure that the metro remains a key contributor – rather than bottleneck – in the new virtualized environment.

The forecasted growth is expected to have a considerable impact on service providers’ networks. They will need to evolve to a new type of network architecture – optimized for the cloud – that will help control costs, guarantee quality and deliver new revenue-generating services to connect users and the cloud.

To address this need, service providers must move towards a cloud–optimized network, leveraging integrated IP, optical and management solutions together with software-defined networking (SDN). This will allow them to deploy networks that meet dynamic and rapid growth in customerdemand for video and other high-bandwidth cloud services with instantaneous access over the metro network.

Basil Alwan, head of IP Routing and Transport for Alcatel-Lucent said, “This is the first traffic study to show the real impact of growth on operator networks. The move to cloud-optimized metro networks plays to Alcatel-Lucent’s core strengths of deploying massively scalable, efficient and agile networks.”

“We have unmatched expertise in IP and optical product development and deployment, and a deep-seated understanding of end-to-end network and service management, both of which are critical to handle the imminent shift in the metro architecture. Moving forward, Alcatel-Lucent will continue to develop a more SDN-enabled IP and optical portfolio to allow networks to evolve even further into a virtualized environment.”

The study, entitled: “Metro Network Traffic Growth: An Architecture Impact Study,” also indicated that traffic from video services will skyrocket by as much as 720 percent and data center traffic will increase more than 440 percent during the same time period. Combined, video and data centre traffic are the key drivers to the overall forecast increase of 560 percent traffic growth in the metro.

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