Ethernet seems to be the twinkle in every carrier's eye at the moment. Today Level 3 announced a significant expansion to its switched Ethernet footprint. They will be increasing the number of switches in their network by 400%, i.e. where there used to be one there will soon be 5. The increased Ethernet footprint will eliminate the need for backhaul of switched metro Ethernet applications and set the stage for other higher level services down the line. Feature enhancements are also apparently in store.
Now one must note that one doesn't quintuple an asset very often unless it is to replace existing equipment or there weren't all that many in the first place. It's probably a bit of each here. Ethernet services are increasingly replacing older technologies, which is leading to network redesigns that push such gear closer and closer to the edge. But one can also say that after its provisioning troubles a few years ago and last year's capex cutbacks, Level 3 has for some time probably not been deploying as many Ethernet switches as their network architects would have otherwise.
It is nice therefore to see the floodgates open, as it implies both that spending is returning to normal and the company sees demand picking up.
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