Telecommunications giant Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings) has been making the rounds lately with equipment makers, trying to convince them of its vision. Verizon apparently likes the packet-optical transport system it uses in the metro so much that it wants something just like it in the longhaul too. Their dream gear would combine optical switching, Sonet, and especially MPLS-TP rather than Ethernet. If they can convince anyone to develop such gear, they hope to deploy it in the 2011-2012 time frame.
But wait, wasn't the 40Gbps expansion the next generation of Verizon's network? Well, a 'generation' in this sector is about 3-4 years, so one has to plan for the next era even before the current one is fully deployed. It isn't clear, however, that Verizon's vision is shared by other carriers - I wonder what AT&T is looking at nowadays? No doubt we will see these early discussions bloom into a full-blown argument over the relative merits of the new MPLS-TP specifications and Carrier Ethernet in the 100Gbps longhaul market, this is merely the first salvo.
For equipment makers, Verizon's request has to be quite bittersweet. On the one hand, Verizon is an 800lb gorilla, if they say they want it then one either builds it or doesn't get to play. On the other hand, it is cutbacks in carrier spending that are causing the equipment sector huge pain right now. To have your current customers suggesting what you should do with the money they aren't going to be spending on your products any time soon is a bit much to swallow. The sector has its hands full just getting 100Gbps gear of any kind ready for prime time, so for now it is nothing but talk.
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