Price Declines to Drive Increase in Ethernet Bandwidth: Report

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A recent Crehan Research Ethernet market forecast projects that much steeper server-class Ethernet networking price declines will result in a significant increase in bandwidth deployed, enabling the next phase of cloud services.

The report, entitled ‘Server-Class Adapter & LAN-on-Motherboard (LOM) Long-Range Forecast Report’ forecasts that the dollar-per-gigabit cost of server-class Ethernet networking bandwidth will fall to less than one-fifth of its current level within five years, and that the related bandwidth deployed will correspondingly increase more than seven-fold during that same time period.

“Over the past five years, server-class Ethernet networking bandwidth has seen a robust increase of about 30% per year, in conjunction with ever-increasing data-centre network traffic and an annual dollar-per-gigabit price decline in the 10-15% range,” said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. “With the arrival of 25 GbE, 50GbE and 100GbE, we expect an inflection change in this trend, with total bandwidth increasing close to 50% annually and the cost-per-gigabit of that bandwidth declining by close to 30% annually. In fact, we are already seeing examples where 25GbE, 50GbE and 100GbE data centre Ethernet products have very small – and sometimes no – price premium over the comparable lower-speed offering.”

Despite its projection of a very strong ramp in the adoption of 25GbE, 50GbE and 100GbE, Crehan Research expects 10GbE to remain a very important server-class Ethernet networking technology through 2020, especially in enterprise data centres.

“Although there is a lot of excitement around 25GbE, 50GbE and 100GbE – and justifiably so – many enterprise data centres are still using 1GbE for server networking attach,” Crehan added. “A lot of these customers will likely see 10GbE, and especially 10GBASE-T, as their next network upgrade path.”

In a prior long-range forecast report, the firm noted that in contrast to the past, many high-speed Ethernet networking speeds would coexist simultaneously, as the diverse segments of the market looked for more targeted solutions to meet their specific needs.