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Infonetics survey: Vendor SDN strategies not yet playing key role in carriers’ optical transport equipment decisions


Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, May 20, 2014—Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its Packet-Optical, MPLS, and Control Plane Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey, which examines the trends and assesses the needs of service providers using emerging optical networking architectures.


“No topic has generated more discussion in the past 12 months than software-defined networking (SDN), though most carriers have been publicly silent on their plans for SDN in the transport network. Our latest packet-optical study found that over three-quarters of service providers surveyed plan to deploy transport SDN, but only a third say vendors’ SDN strategies play a critical role in their equipment and vendor decisions today,” reports Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research.


  • Opinions on exactly what constitutes a packet-optical transport system (P-OTS) vary widely in the industry, however, 86% of carriers surveyed say Infonetics’ definition of P OTS is a good characterization
  • 84% of respondents have deployed or will deploy P OTS by the end of 2015
  • The top reasons cited for deploying P-OTS are reducing complexity in the network and supporting services such as private line Ethernet and broadband aggregation
  • Slightly more than half of respondents will use alien wavelengths to provide spectrum leasing and dark fiber services, not IP over DWDM (IPoDWDM)
  • When asked to estimate the percentage of traffic transiting their network that is packet switched by conventional routers vs. packet-optical systems, respondents indicate that optical equipment will play a much larger role in packet switching and aggregation by 2016, but it will still be secondary to the role routers play


For its 22-page packet-optical, MPLS, and control plane survey Infonetics interviewed 21 incumbent, competitive, independent wireless, and cable operators that have deployed packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) or plan to do so by the end of 2015. The study looks at why service providers deploy packet-optical equipment, how they make the tradeoff between using converged optical and Ethernet equipment versus standalone routers, and what network penetration looks like. It also explores carriers’ plans for alien wavelengths and using SDN in optical networks. The organizations participating in the study together represent 24% of global service provider capex and 20% of service provider revenue. To buy the report, contact Infonetics:



Download Infonetics’ 2014 market research brochure, publication calendar, events brochure, report highlights, tables of contents, and more at

Visit Infonetics' event page to register for upcoming webinars, view recent webinars on demand, or learn about sponsoring a webinar.

  • The Role of Service Delivery Platforms in M2M & IoT (May 20: Attend)
  • Unlocking Revenues with Carrier Ethernet 2.0 Wholesale E-Access (May 29: Attend)
  • How to Get the Best Out of DAS, Small Cells & WiFi (June 5: Attend)
  • Diameter Signaling Control for LTE Networks (June 12: Attend)
  • The Roadmap for the ROADM Network Expansion (View on-demand)
  • 100G in the Metro: When and Where It Will Be Economical (View on-demand)
  • The Increasing Threat of Compromised Web Servers & How to Mitigate It (View on-demand)
  • Coherent Optics: Cheaper, Better, Faster (July 24: Sponsor)


  • N. America (West), Asia Pacific: Larry Howard,, +1-408-583-3335
  • N. America (East, Midwest), Latin America: Scott Coyne,, +1-408-583-3395
  • EMEA, India, Singapore: George Stojsavljevic,, +44-755-488-1623
  • Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan:

Infonetics Research ( is an international market research and consulting firm serving the communications industry since 1990. A leader in defining and tracking emerging and established technologies in all world regions, Infonetics helps clients plan, strategize, and compete more effectively. View Infonetics' brief About Us slides at

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"For the full year 2013, worldwide revenue for ROADM WSS components declined 8% from 2012 due to mild increases in volume combined with continued price declines."

Andrew Schmitt, Principal Analyst, Optical


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