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Bell Labs study reveals 560% increase in data traffic on metro

Metro Network Traffic Growth: An Architecture Impact Study

Metro Network Traffic Growth: An Architecture Impact Study

A Bell Labs study released by Alcatel-Lucent indicates that data traffic on metropolitan (‘metro’) access and aggregation networks is set to increase by 560 percent by 2017, driven by demand for video and the proliferation of data centers. The study showed that by 2017 more than 75 percent of that traffic will stay in metro networks, as compared to 57 percent today.

The study, entitled: “Metro Network Traffic Growth: An Architecture Impact Study,” also indicated that traffic from video services will skyrocket by as much as 720 percent and data center traffic will increase more than 440 percent during the same time period. Combined, video and data centre traffic are the key drivers to the overall forecast increase of 560 percent traffic growth in the metro.

Key facts:

  • Total metro network traffic will increase 560 percent by 2017.
  • Video traffic will increase 720 percent by 2017.
  • Cloud and data center traffic – consumer connections to data centers and interconnection between data centers – will increase 440 percent by 2017.
  • Total Metro traffic will grow approximately two times faster than traffic going into the backbone network by 2017.
  • By 2017, 75 percent of total traffic will terminate within the metro network and 25 percent of traffic will traverse the backbone network as video, data and web content is increasingly sourced from within metro networks.


Fast-rising demand for ultra-broadband access, video, cloud and other high-bandwidth services is driving enterprises, communications service providers and webscale companies to bring content closer to their customers to better manage quality of experience (QoE) and gain operational efficiencies. The most popular video content, for instance, is being cached deeper in the network so it can be delivered to customers locally over metro networks rather then being accessed from a central cache over the backbone network. In addition, the growing demand for cloud services means that enterprises and operators are adding data centers within the metro area in order to support service delivery.

These shifting traffic patterns mean more traffic will now stay in the metro – 75 percent by 2017, as compared with 57 percent today. In contrast, only 25 percent of data traffic will traverse the backbone. Service providers require a network architecture that will ensure that the metro remains a key contributor – rather than bottleneck – in the new virtualized environment.

The forecasted growth is expected to have a considerable impact on service providers’ networks. They will need to evolve to a new type of network architecture – optimized for the cloud – that will help control costs, guarantee quality and deliver new revenue-generating services to connect users and the cloud. To address this need, service providers must move towards a cloud–optimized network, leveraging integrated IP, optical and management solutions together with software-defined networking (SDN). This will allow them to deploy networks that meet dynamic and rapid growth in customer demand for video and other high-bandwidth cloud services with instantaneous access over the metro network.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Cloud–Optimized Metro Solution:

IP Networking specialist Alcatel-Lucent offers its Cloud–Optimized Metro solution which draws upon the company’s market leading IP, optical and network management portfolios to build agile, scalable and efficient metro networks for delivery of cloud optimized services. Key elements include:


A metro IP/MPLS layer enhanced with several new features and capabilities:

  • New 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS)-16c small core platform optimized for multi-service metro core applications
  • New 7750 Service Router (SR) 400Gb/s line cards featuring high-density 10 and 100GE interfaces for metro aggregation and transport
  • New 7210 Service Access Switch (SAS)-T and 7210 SAS-R platforms for scaling the first layer of the metro access network from Gigabit on-ramp speeds to 10 Gigabit speeds
  • Support for Seamless Multi-Protocol Layer Switching (MPLS) and MPLS-TP to enable highly scalable and efficient end-to-end metro architectures
  • Openflow interface support on the IP routing portfolio for enabling agile SDN control

An agile and programmable metro optical networking layer featuring new enhancements to Alcatel-Lucent’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) family including:

  • New family of Integrated Packet Transport (IPT) modules transforming WDM networks into a flexible transport layer for the delivery of metro MEF certified Carrier Ethernet 2.0 services
  • New multiservice, multi-protocol 100Gb/s Data Center Interconnect modules featuring transmission support for Ethernet, Infiniband and Fibre Channel services over a broad range of speeds and distances, in addition to programmable 100Gb/s or 200Gb/s modules for router interconnect

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About Kalpana Singhal

Kalpana Singhal is Co-Founder & Editor in Chief at Techplus Media. She is an Innovative & challenger Entrepreneur who started her journey from corporate communication in early 2001 with I.T. Industry followed by Lead - Editorial at BeautyIndia.in in 2008 . You can follow her on twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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