Quality of service (QoS) will be sacrificed as carriers slash 80 per cent off backbone costs by deploying next-generation Gigabit Ethernet instead of SDH/SONET in Metropolitan Area Networks, Gartner has predicted.
"Carriers are not going to try all of the quality of service and guarantees. Metropolitan networks, in the new optical era, are going to be about throwing cheaper bandwidth at the problem: not very sophisticated bandwidth, but very cheap," Gartner vice president and chief analyst Ian Keene told delegates at last week's NetEvents symposium.
"On average, Gigabit is about 20 per cent of the cost of SONET/SDH. The proposition of Gigabit Ethernet is a huge jump; it is not just an incremental thing".
Keene added that carriers would be "forgetting all of the bells and whistles" of SDH/SONET QoS as they deploy lowest cost Gigabit-based infrastructures on which to generate revenue from value-added services.
He predicted that these moves would kick start the nascent Application Service Provider (ASP) market.
"Where the money comes in for carriers and other service providers who are going to use these networks, is in more value added services," Keene added.
"I think we can see the ASP market growing out of this. At last people can outsource applications, because they can afford the bandwidth.
"At the moment it is pretty standard stuff, for example disaster recovery. However, moving forward we will see more scope for things like outsourced storage area networks. There will be a lot of hosting, outsourced intranet, this sort of stuff."
But Keene's predictions that Gigabit would rapidly become the dominant technology in Mans were met with scepticism by Nortel Networks' director of market development, Bill Foster.
He said: "In the medium term - and don't ask me how long that is - both technologies will exist in the metropolitan environment because of the amount of legacy infrastructure which exists today."
Foster added: "For a manufacturer R&D perspective, there is going to be continued justification for improving those legacy systems so they can deliver more services and generate more revenue.
"What happens in the long term will, of course, depend on how quickly the cost curve comes down on DWDM systems, coupled with demand for higher bandwidth services."
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