2013 Ethernet Tech Summit- Market Research Panel, Carrier Ethernet & Unsung Heroes


“Ethernet Technology Summit attendance was up over 20% in 2013. Topics of special interest included software-defined networking (SDN), 40/100/400 GbE, venture opportunities, and market research.  Keynotes by Mellanox, Dell’Oro Group, Huawei, Ethernet Alliance, Cisco Systems, Big Switch Networks, Broadcom, and Dell all drew capacity audiences.” said Lance A. Leventhal, Program Chairperson.

The Market Research panel covered the prospects for Ethernet in the enterprise, among carriers, especially for cellular backhaul), and in the data center.  The session was chaired by Crystal Black, Channel Marketing Manager, APTARE


  • Michael Howard, Infonetics Research
  • Casey Quillin, Dell’Oro Group
  • Sergis Mushell, Gartner
  • Jag Bolaria, Linley Group
  • Vladimir Kozlov, LightCounting


An image depicting small cell backhaul.
Image Courtesy of Infonetics

1. Michael Howard of Infonetics Research talked about macro-cell and small cell backhaul. “Nearly all new Macro-cell Backhaul Connections are IP/Ethernet,” he said. “IP/Ethernet is 94% of 2012 macrocell MBH equipment spending,” Michael added. Most of macro-cells use either microwave or fiber backhaul, with macro-cell sites that aggregate small cell traffic to use the same existing macrocell fiber backhaul.  Most outdoor small cells were being deployed at street level in urban centers, with three to eight of them connecting to a macro-cell site on the top of a building.

“Small cells have been deployed since 2007 nearly all located in-building and 2G/3G”, stated Howard.  “What’s new is the outdoor deployments, where operators this year are trying and trialing many new products, new technology options, and new locations that present a myriad of challenges, such as how to negotiate for lightpost placement, connect and buy power, and meet city regulations for color, size, shape of the small cell and backhaul products,” he added.

Small cell backhaul status is summarized as follows:

  • Operators are evaluating, testing, planning outdoor small cells
  • Virtually all small cell deployments to date are 3G and in-building
  • Most operators will deploy first outdoor in the urban core with ~3 to 8 pico-cells per macrocell
  • Most wireless carriers will aggregate small cell backhaul traffic onto the nearest macro-cell site—typically connected to fiber backhaul network
  • Outdoor small cell backhaul is mostly an Ethernet NLOS–MWV–MMW (i.e. Microwave and millimeter wave) play
  • Backhaul aggregation is still a fiber play

2. Jag Bolaria of Linley Group made the following points:

  • High bandwidth available from 4G-LTE networks are enabling a continued huge increase in mobile data traffic.
  • Cloud Computing is changing Data Center architecture, especially in the areas of scalability and virtualization.
  • There are many Ethernet markets, including:  Mobile back-haul  Data Centers SMB enterprise, Carrier Ethernet, etc.
  • Data Center topology is moving from hierarchical to flat, due to more East-West (server-to-server) traffic patterns
  • Data Center (Ethernet) switches need a lot more bandwidth for connectivity between them. As more servers have 10GE interfaces, the inter-switch connection is likely to be 40GE.
  • Very large Data Centers will have multiple L2 networks with L3 tunneling to migrate between many different L2 domains.
  • A virtualized L2 network may use Equal Cost MultiPath (ECMP) to define the shortest path between switches and load balance traffic over that path.  “Open Flow” may help here,” Jag said.
  • 100GE using CFP is still too expensive and consumes too much power to be deployed on a large scale.  Jag predicts that CFP2, CFP4, silicon photonics, or Indium phosphide will be used to shrink 100GE modules.

3.  Sergis Mushell of Gartner made several forecasts, including that:

  • There are four distinct models for SDN as it applies to ICs (but they were not identified).
  • 40GE interfaces are coming to blade servers this year.
  • Fiber Channel rates will increase to 16 Gbps and 32 Gbps.
  • Silicon Photonics will be built into Data Center equipment in the near future.

4.  Casey Quillin of Dell’Oro Group talked about SANs and Data Center deployments. He said that:

  • Fiber Channel (FC) revenues are mostly at 8 Gbps, but declining.
  • Revenues are increasing for FC at speeds greater or equal to 16 Gbps.
  • Revenue from FC @ 16 Gbps is almost all from switch-to-switch connections and ASPs are high for 16 Gbps FC switch ports.
  • The total 2012 FC market was up 1% in revenue and that was mostly from FC switches as FC adapter sales fell.
  • The FC attach rate on blade servers has declined sharply and we may see FCoE (Fiber Channel over Ethernet) as a replacement.
  • FCOE switch ports will also have to support one or more DC bridging protocols, e.g. TRILL, IEEE 802.  Yet, FCoE is only for “greenfield deployments,” Casey said.

5.  Vladimir Kozlov of LightCounting (market research firm founded in 2004) tracks optical communications supply chain.  He made the following key points:

  • Overwhelming majority (~95%) of 10GE optical transceivers use SFP+ Direct Attach (uses a passive twin-ax cable assembly and connects directly into an SFP+ housing).
  • 40GE will experience “good growth” in the next 3 to 4 years
  • Data Centers are becoming more efficient in how they use bandwidth and that may result in a decrease in the number of switch/routers sold into that market segment.
  • Microwave back-haul will be 10-12% of total U.S. cellular backhaul market this year.
  • No forecast was made for fiber optic back haul,  which now only reaches 55-60% of cell sites in the U.S.
  • Market research firm iGR forecasts that growth of fiber back-haul is expected to reach a CAGR of nearly 85 percent between 2011 and 2016

Read more: Study: U.S. mobile back-haul demand to grow nearly 10x by 2016

FierceWireless http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/study-us-mobile-backhaul-demand-grow-nearly-10x-2016/2012-03-13#ixzz2QZaAeRlD

  • A LightCounting report on 40G and 100G Data Center Interconnects analyzes the impact of growing data traffic and changing architecture of data centers on market forecast for Ethernet and Fibre Channel optical transceivers.

Comment on this panel session:

Other than Ethernet frames used for mobile back-haul  there wasn’t any discussion about the Carrier Ethernet market or services.  That topic was the subject of an all day track of sessions on Wednesday. Carrier Ethernet lets wireline network operators use low cost Ethernet systems to offer data services to SMBs and larger enterprise customers. Carrier Ethernet includes carrier grade reliability, Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) features, linear and ring protection switching  as well as QoS/ class of service. Carrier Ethernet is sometimes referred to as Business Ethernet and is offered over bonded copper (n X T1 or n X DSL) or fiber for higher speeds (typically 100 Mbps or greater).

Carrier Ethernet Services offered to business customers  include: Ethernet Private Line, Ethernet Tree (point to multi-point) and Ethernet LAN (multi-point to multi-point).  In addition, the MEF is positioning Carrier Ethernet 2.0 for use in wire-line access to Private Cloud services.

The problem seemed to be that there weren’t any carriers willing to participate in those sessions, so it was just equipment and silicon vendors talking to one another.

A new report forecasts the Global Ethernet Access Device market to grow at a CAGR Of 13.62% from 2012-2016.


Another highlight of the Ethernet Technology Summit was a Wednesday evening award ceremony to the “Unsung hero’s of Ethernet.”  They were: Dave Boggs who worked with Bob Metcalfe on the original 3Mb/sec Ethernet (and whose name appears on the Ethernet patent), Ron Crane who designed the first working 10 Mb/s coax based Ethernet (which later became standardized by IEEE 802.3 as 10Base5), Tat Lam who worked on the original version of Ethernet and early 10 Mb/s transceivers and long time IEEE ComSoc contributor Geoff Thompson for his  hard work, long term support and leadership of Ethernet standards work in IEEE 802 (he was chair/vice-chair of the 802.3 WG for many years), TIA and the ISO.

The Unsung Heroes etched crystal awards were paid for by the IEEE Santa Clara Valley section (the largest in the world).  They include an image of Bob Metcalfe’s original sketch of the Ethernet system.

Note: this author has been a member of the IEEE SCV Executive Committee for many years and decades.  More info at:


0 thoughts on “2013 Ethernet Tech Summit- Market Research Panel, Carrier Ethernet & Unsung Heroes

    1. Geoff Thompson is an ultra UNSUNG hero! Not only for his work in Ethernet standards, but his active participation at IEEE ComSocSCV meetings and posts to the IEEE members only discussion group (IEEE members can sign up at comsocscv.org). He is a go to guy who never lets us down! Congrats Geoff!

    2. The last Comsoc SCV meeting (Apr 10), I made the announcement to the audience before the panel Q&A’s began on Geoff’s contribution to Ethernet and the recent recognition awarded to him at the Ethernet Tech Summit.

      I wasn’t even in the US when Geoff began his work on Ethernet and never in my dreams I imagined that I would cross paths with him. It is nice to be associated thru Alan W. who roped me in to Comsoc in the first place!

      1. Geoff wrote in an email:
        “I am incredibly honored to be included with Dave, Ron and Tat for this award.
        It has been a treat to make Ethernet standards and interoperability the focus of my career. IEEE 802.3 has set the high bar for the way that standards should work in data communications. I’m glad to have had a role in that.”

        Ironically, Geoff and I attended our 1st IEEE 802 meeting in March 1983 in Lake Tahoe. He quickly surpassed me in contributions to that standards committee, especially the IEEE 802.3 WG! No one is more deserving of this award than Geoff!

  1. At the April 3rd Ethernet Tech Summit Market Research session, Infonetics Michael Howard said, “Network operator driver for NFV is quick revenue (via faster provisioning of new services and telecom facilities).” He later said, “Carriers will implement SDN in ‘contained domains.’”
    Those quotes are related to the issues raised in my recent articles on the Open Network Summit, Service Provider SDN, and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). Please refer to them at:
    http://community.comsoc.org/blogs/alanweissberger/2013-open-network-summit-ons-announcements-take-aways-conclusions (see comment from Dan Pitt of Open Network Foundation)

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