Cloud computing and net neutrality are becoming major factors in forcing telecoms operators to upgrade their core network bandwidth, according to an industry analyst.
In turn, top industry players such as Nortel, Cisco and Juniper Networks are pushing towards high-speed 100Gbps Ethernet products in response to operator demand, Ovum principal analyst John Mazur told ZDNet UK.
Mazur was speaking on Tuesday, a day after Juniper released the industry's first 100Gbps Ethernet interface card, which is targeted at operators that want to boost bandwidth in their core internet networks.
"There are a lot of drivers towards 100Gbps interfaces," Mazur said. "One is cloud computing — Juniper thinks that will rival video as far as core network traffic goes. Everyone has been thinking video would be the big driver."
Cloud computing involves accessing compute, storage and network resources over the internet, which provides companies with cheaper scalability than would be possible by building bigger and faster datacentres on site.
Mazur pointed out that Nortel had recently announced longhaul 100Gbps Ethernet trials, and said Cisco was about to announce an advancement in its own 100Gbps strategy.
"We're seeing interesting dynamics with Juniper, Nortel and Cisco all talking about bandwidth growth," Mazur said. "One of the drivers of this is net neutrality. That's a driver because carriers are experiencing more and more bandwidth growth on their infrastructure but are not able to charge more to support that growth."
'Net neutrality', in this case, refers to operators' inability — based on either market competition or legislation — to charge heavy users of the internet more than they charge light users. Mazur said cost savings derived from increasing interface bandwidth were therefore crucial to operators' strategies.
"[Operators] need to continue to build out their internet infrastructure to support all users, and they can't really discriminate on pricing," Mazur said. "So they need to keep their internet core costs as low as possible, which is why we're seeing a lot of traction in internet infrastructure cost-reduction measures right now."