Ethernet continues to attract attention

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Networking technology Ethernet was highlighted as a key cost-cutting initiative in the Practical ways to quickly reduce costs buzz session at London's Orange Business Live event. Adoption is growing rapidly, according to analyst IDC. "It is clear the Carrier Ethernet market is growing and that we are past the early adoption phase and into serious deployment mode," says to Eve Griliches, program manager, IDC.
 
Analysts estimate annual Ethernet services growth at anywhere between 18 and 25%, reckons Dennis Kruse, Metro Ethernet Forum chairman and Vice President of Network Solutions at Orange Business Services. In this video he says that Ethernet is popular across all sizes of organisations for applications including Internet access, website hosting, data centre connectivity and intranet connectivity. It can help companies realise savings of 20-30% in connectivity, particularly at high speeds, and can grow bandwidth without having to change equipment, making network planning simpler.
 
Part of Ethernet's attraction is that it is technology agnostic and can run over fibre, copper, microwave, DSL, leased line, SONET/SDH and MPLS, so it is available nearly everywhere. Ethernet over copper, for example, will help bring services closer to businesses using existing infrastructure. The technology will allow enterprises to access speeds of up to 15 Mbps over a single copper twisted pair, which is around 10 times more bandwidth than is available through a legacy T1 or E1 line.
 
Big investments in technology
 
To meet the burgeoning enterprise demand, carriers are investing heavily in Ethernet equipment. Recent research from analysts Infonetics predicted that the carrier Ethernet equipment market will be worth $34 billion by 2013. "Over the 5 years from 2009 to 2013, we expect service providers worldwide to spend a cumulative $146 billion on carrier Ethernet equipment," says Michael Howard, Infonetics Research's Principal analyst for carrier and data center networks.
 
A number of technology trends require the large bandwidth that can be provided by Ethernet, such as virtualisation of services into a private cloud, where Ethernet is used to link up resources in different data centres. In fact some companies are calling for even faster Ethernet services to meet their demands. Facebook, for example, which hit 300 million users in September recently called for Terabit Ethernet to meet its demand for faster data centre connectivity. 
 
Telepresence enters sports, movies
 
Another area covered in the buzz session that continues to receive a great deal of attention is Telepresence. In fact it is even starting to appear in some unusual places, such as sporting clubs: America football team Miami Dolphins installed Telepresence to allow its fans to interact with players - presumably not during the game! And the concepts behind Telepresence are even making their presence felt in Hollywood in a few new movies, namely Surrogate, Gamer and Avatar. 
 
Closer to home though, eweek says that the Carbon Disclosure Project has identified Telepresence as playing a key role in propelling technology companies up the carbon saving rankings. It reports Paul Dickinson, chief executive, Carbon
Disclosure Project saying: "Climate change may impose limits to the growth of the physical economy, but the information and communication technology sector can grow without limit, providing services like video communications substituting for physical travel. This dematerialization of the economy is vital, and may provide massive opportunities for ICT companies."
 
By its very nature Telepresence is a worldwide phenomenon. India, for example is apparently Cisco's third largest market and after the US and Australia. And in Mexico, health officials plan to use Telepresence to disseminate information to healthcare providers quickly during the expected re-emergence of the H1N1 influenza over winter. 
Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.