The Dell’Oro Group, a market research firm that focuses on information technology, communications, and networking, recently released its quarterly report, “Router & Carrier Ethernet Switch Quarterly Report.”
In the document, Dell’Oro discusses sales of routers and market growth in the most recent quarter, Q3 2015, as it compares to the previous quarters in this year. It also mentions the year-over-year growth that took place in the service provider core router sales market that, according the report, rose 9 percent from 2014. This jump from Q3 2014 to Q3 2015 reportedly highlight operators’ needs to extend their own Ethernet backbones for service provision.
To make that point, Alam Tamboli, a senior analyst at Dell’Oro, speaks about operators’ current activities and the momentum they will carry into the coming year.
“Operator build out of their 100 Gbps Ethernet backbones drove the growth in core routers,” Tamboli said. “We expect this momentum to continue into 2016 as newer core router platforms and line cards go from test to deployment stages, and next generation 100 Gbps Ethernet optical interfaces become available.”
A handful of router manufacturers were responsible for the delivery of much of the hardware now in use in the market. In particular, Dell’Oro mentioned Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper, and ZTE as leaders in the field.
There is one other trend in the overall routing market that is addressed in the report and is worth mentioning. Tamboli further notes in his statement that third-quarter sales in “edge” sub-markets were down but that “access” was up. By edge, Tamboli refers to service providers; the reference to access concerns enterprises. He provided this statement about the possible causes of this trend in spending – namely from fiber-to-the-x, where “x” represents homes and businesses, to a concentration on mobile backhaul):
“In China – one of the biggest drivers of growth over the past several years – spending has shifted from routers used for FTTx networks to routers and carrier Ethernet switches used for mobile backhaul. Recently, router and carrier Ethernet switch deployments for mobile backhaul in China have softened.”
It appears that much of the recent drop in edge sales and rise in access sales has much to do with China. As that country’s population grows and more people seek connections either through work or personal mobile and desktop devices, operators and network carriers must respond to those demands. Fiber can show the way forward by making the most of router speeds. But mobile connections also rely on extensive backhaul to get 3G and 4G speeds to individuals and to businesses that rely on Internet of Things-connected devices.