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EAD market expanding with rising demand from service providers

By Donna Donnawitz
June 4, 2012
The Ethernet access device market is poised to grow considerably during the next few years, as Ethernet becomes a more viable solution in a variety of deployment models. A recent Infonetics Research study found this growth has already begun, with the sector experiencing a 17 percent revenue increase from 2010 to 2011. Between 2012 and 2016, the EAD industry will climb by approximately 81 percent.

To a great extent, the rise in EAD investments stems from the increased use of Ethernet solutions in a variety of markets. Diversification is usually a good sign for a technology's growth, and Infonetics Research found EAD solutions are becoming more prominent in traditional telecom service provider markets, as well as mobile backhaul deployment.

Rising demand for more bandwidth and better performance in a variety of networking markets is leading to a considerable climb in the amount of EAD equipment that is built around optical networking technology. However, the study found that while copper's role is diminishing, it still plays an important role in the industry. In many instances, service providers and organizations are making upgrades from TDM to Ethernet in an effort to improve performance, using optical cabling when possible. However, many deployment models face pockets of connectivity where copper will be sufficient and the expense of fiber is not required.

Despite the vital role copper plays in providing installation flexibility and cost control, fiber is still the most commonly used cabling format within setups featuring EAD solutions. The study found approximately 70 percent of all EADs are fiber, while the other 30 percent are made up from a mix of various copper-based solutions.

Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research, explained that a diverse range of service types are contributing to the growth of the Ethernet EAD market.

"The Ethernet access device market is growing nicely as a direct reflection of carrier Ethernet connections to businesses, backhaul from buildings and DSLAMs, and as a growing broadband and mobile backhaul application," said Howard.

As the relationship between copper and fiber continues to intertwine in support of the rising EAD market, it is vital that businesses support their investment with solutions that streamline fiber and copper integration within their infrastructure. Fiber-to-Ethernet media converters can be an ideal solution in this area, as they provide a cost-efficient way to support both copper and fiber within the network.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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