Bell Labs forecasts 560% more metro network traffic by 2017

Dec. 5, 2013
New study sees surge in traffic driven by demand for video and the proliferation of data centers.

A Bell Labs study released by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) indicates that data traffic on metropolitan access and aggregation networks is set to increase by 560% 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% of that traffic will stay in metro networks, as compared to 57% today.

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

Fast-rising demand for video, cloud, and other high-bandwidth services is driving enterprises, service providers, and web-scale companies to bring content closer to their customers as they try to better manage quality of experience (QoE) and improve operational efficiency, Alcatel-Lucent says. The most popular video content, for instance, is being cached more toward the edge of the network so it can be delivered to customers locally over metro networks rather than 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 to support service delivery.

Related: Study: Surging video demand will bulge networks' edge

These shifting traffic patterns mean more traffic will now stay in the metro – as noted earlier, 75% by 2017, as compared with 57% today. Service providers will require a network architecture that will ensure that the metro remains a key contributor – rather than bottleneck – in the new virtualized environment, Alcatel-Lucent asserts. The forecasted growth is expected to have a considerable impact on service providers’ networks, says Alcatel-Lucent. Service providers will need to evolve to a network architecture that is optimized for the cloud – to 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 toward a cloud–optimized network, leveraging integrated IP, optical, and management platforms together with software-defined networking (SDN). This will allow them to deploy networks that meet dynamic and rapid growth in customer demand for video and other high-bandwidth cloud services with instantaneous access over the metro network, the company concludes.


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