The Great Infinite Bandwidth debate

A couple of extracts from the current (October / November 2008) issue of fibre systems Europe placed in juxtaposition just to create some debate.

NOTE: Some minor editing of the articles to remove links to other articles in the magazine.

NEC to supply high-speed GPON solution In Sweden (Page 9)
Customers of Swedish network operator Svenska Fibernat AB will soon benefit from blistering broadband speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s -  10 times faster than was previously available. The upgrade is made possible by high-speed GPON equipment supplied by NEC Europe, which is based on the AM3IOO series Multi Service Access Node. The new service follows a successful trial in the Uppsala region of the country.

So parts of Sweden will get really good Broadband connections, so how does this stack up with ISP performance?

Backbone capacity manages to keep up (page7)
Internet traffic is growing fast, but backbone network capacity is keeping pace. That’s the conclusion of a new report from US consultancy TeleGeography, which has analysed internet capacity on international and major city-to-city routes across the world.
The report found that for the second year running, total international internet capacity grew faster than total traffic, leading to lower use on many internet backbones. Between mid-2007 and mid-2008, average traffic levels decreased from 31 to 29%, while peak use fell from
44 to 43%. Overall internet traffic growth has remained strong, with international traffic growing 53% between mid-2007 and mid-2008 — a less rapid pace of growth than the previous year, when it increased by 61%.
“Broadband subscriber growth has been slowing since 2001, but the volume of traffic generated by each user has grown:’ explained Telegeography’s director of research Alan Mauldin. ‘Growth is fuelled by demand for video delivered via the internet.’


OK - so far the backbone is keeping up?  But what of the future?

Brace for impact  (Editorial)
Trying to predict the future is a good way to invite egg on face, it but that’s exactly what plenary speakers are expected to do. At the European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) in Brussels last month it was the turn of Rod Alferness, chief scientist at Alcatel-Lucent’s Dell Labs.
Alferness kicked off his talk by looking back on the predictions he had made 10 years earlier,at ECOC 1998 in Madrid. Back then 1 Tbit/s of capacity had already been demonstrated, so transmission was viewed as a solved problem. The real issue for the optical networking industry at the time was how to manage and tame all that bandwidth. Mesh and reconfigurable networks based on reconfigurable optical add—drop multiplexers looked like the optimum solution, and in fact that has turned out to be the case, even if it has taken a little longer to arrive than anticipated (no rotten tomatoes so far).
But going forward, increasing transmission capacity will not be so easy, Alferness contends. The industry’s belief that fibre has unlimited bandwidth has been overturned, and some tricky, nonlinear physics is already creating significant challenges for vendors developing high-speed, high-capacity transmission gear. 1 think that in the next 10 years we are going 6 to be very challenged to find the bandwidth that society demands fl of us in a cost-effective way,” he stated. It’s not unreasonable to e suggest that commercial systems in 10 years time will need to offer capacities around 100 times greater than they do today.
Alferness then presented a chart showing how the capacities demonstrated by “hero experiments” are increasing far more slowly than they did before. “In the past we would have said a breakthrough was required,” he observed. This view was echoed by market analyst Dana Cooperson of Ovum in her Market Focus presentation, who displayed a chart showing how capacities available from commercial DWDM systems have also hit a ceiling. Turn to page 14 to find how and why the industry is struggling with the next step up in capacity to 100 Gbit/s wavelengths.
Of course, the challenges over the next few years will go way beyond technology. The US credit crisis is only months old, and yet the shockwaves have spread across the world. When, earlier this summer, I commissioned an article on how the telecoms industry could weather an economic slowdown, nobody had any idea that the whispers in the wind were going to turn into a financial hurricane that would wipe out numerous financial institutions, send the stock market into panic, and cost governments around the world $3.2 trillion (€2.4 trillion) in rescue packages. On page II. industry analyst David Dunphy considers what operators and vendors might do to boost their chances of survival.

An interesting short -> long term view of where we might be with Bandwidth provision?    If you want to debate this subject, open a new Topic here
Article last edited on Tuesday, 11-Nov-2014 14:49 PM