Remember the first time you got your hands on a 1GB thumb drive? Back in the day it was a big deal to carry that kind of ammunition around, especially when things were measured in megabytes. And they weren’t cheap. Today, 1GB thumb drives are basically given away in Happy Meals, and the era of 100GbE is upon us.

This isn’t a residential demand, mind you, but in enterprise and operator scenarios it’s no longer a distant prospect. This capacity is even starting to see demand at the very edge of the network. Current industry projections estimate that 100G Ethernet services will approach $20B by 2020. Yet for all the projections, you just have to wonder… what exactly are the scenarios that demand 100GbE?

It may be surprising, but there is, in fact, consumption demand for bandwidth of that size. Here are three early deployment scenarios where 100GbE makes the most sense.

  1. Ethernet Business Services delivery at multiples of 10GbE: The business Ethernet service market, specifically for large campuses or tall, shiny buildings, caters to customers with a variety of needs – all of whom may be going north of 10GbE in terms of their demand for services. Think healthcare, entertainment, and R&E. The most common scenario here is one of multiples of 10GbE, where users need 10 or 20 gigs, so aggregating that demand via a single platform becomes more efficient, provides “headroom” for future growth, and saves space/power/ports in their datacenters.

  2. Colocation Facility: These carrier hotels often face space, power, and sparing issues as they need to hand off more and more 10GbE links between themselves and have no choice to but “stack” 10GbE platforms. With the advent of 100GbE platforms, fewer “pizza boxes” means far greater efficiency. The cost saving efficiencies in the consolidation make a very compelling case to make the jump.

  3. 5G Pre-build: Everyone can see 5G coming down the line, but no one is exactly sure of the impact the technology will have. The one thing that is certain is that delivered bandwidth is going up, and the backhaul network will absolutely need to be beefed up, a process that has already started by taking 10GbE to the macro cell towers.

Clearly 100GbE is in its early stages, but these use cases are ones we are starting to see with our clients here at Ciena. To address these needs head-on, we extended our Packet Networking portfolio to introduce several new platforms to facilitate delivering this much capacity at the very edge of the network, starting now and for the foreseeable future.

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