Data driven demand continues to increase utilization of long-haul and metropolitan area networks at a pace that is requiring new bandwidth capacity through optical fiber.
These are the findings of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), which released at the National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference a new report on the status of capacity utilization in the U.S. optical fiber market.
This report is part two of the "Optical Network Capacity and Utilization" white paper. Part one, released in June, focused on terminology and definitions.
"The purpose of conducting this two-part white paper was to clear up some of the confusion and misunderstanding that exists today regarding the U.S. fiber optics market," says TIA President Matthew Flanigan. "It is a complex market, impacted by a wide variety of factors. Accurate information is crucial for all concerned, including vendors, service providers, analysts and investors, in order to make informed business decisions. Much of the information buzzing around the industry has been hyperbole, conflicting, overly generalized and, in some cases, just wrong."
In part two of its white paper, the TIA concludes that data driven demand, particularly from the enterprise, continues to increase utilization of long-haul and metropolitan area networks at a pace that requires the addition of new bandwidth capacity through equipment or fiber deployment across certain routes. Since the vast majority of new fiber and channel slots were deployed over the same Tier I routes, those long-haul routes have sufficient installed capacity to meet demand for the next one to two years or more.
However, given the steady growth in traffic demand, there is a need for new capacity in certain Tier II and Tier III market long-haul routes, as well as in many metro and access networks.
The TIA finds that consumer demand continues to grow, putting pressure on metropolitan-based carriers. However, a regulatory shift in the local access market to spur fiber-based deployment is increasingly important to allow these networks to meet demand.
When local access markets become more economically attractive for fiber-based transport, the TIA predicts much greater traffic volume and a tremendous new need for network capacity deployments. The TIA has called upon the FCC to take action to spur such investment in the last-mile.
The paper details the many factors that contributed to these conclusions, such as:
Traffic across U.S. networks continues to increase at levels that are consistent with historical trends: U.S. long distance traffic is growing 7-8 % per year; U.S. local voice traffic is growing 5-12 % per year; and U.S. Internet traffic is growing 100 % per year.
There is a cyclical relationship between end-user access speed, the type of online application used and the amount of traffic generated by the end-user. The larger the "pipe" at the level of the local access network, the greater amount of traffic volume can be expected and passed to the long-haul network.
Network capacity needed for different types of networks vary dramatically based on peak-to-average ratios (ranging from 3 to 1 for circuit switched voice traffic to 15 to 1 for private line traffic) and on network overhead factors such as protection/restoration, protocols, etc. (ranging from 32 to 50 times average demand).
A copy of the white paper is available at