European and US service providers are planning transitions from their current circuit switched networks to next-generation Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) converged infrastructures.
According to a market study by Infonetics Research, service providers are increasing their investments in IP, MPLS, broadband and metro Ethernet - despite lean capital expenditure budgets.
Kevin Mitchell, Infonetics Research analyst and lead author of the study, said many carriers are gearing up for data network convergence because the potential payoffs are worth the investment.
Carriers can cut operating and capital expenses savings through eliminating network duplication, and new technologies offer a wider variety of access methods and new revenue opportunities, such as MPLS virtual private networks.
"It's still early, and questions remain about the various convergence approaches, but the movement to a unified MPLS core is not in question," said Mitchell.
The hottest convergence technologies are IP/MPLS, broadband and metro Ethernet, with IP/MPLS traffic predicted to grow 118 per cent on average between this year and next.
Infonetics predicted that the percentage of respondents doing some form of data network convergence over IP or IP/MPLS will rise from 62 per cent now to 86 per cent in 2004.
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