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Ethernet to drive ATM to extinction, survey predicts

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The majority of UK organisations (70 per cent) are searching for more cost-effective and flexible networking technologies to replace ATM, frame relay and leased line links, according to a survey of IT directors published on Monday.

Viatel, the networking firm which sponsored the study, said its research "highlights the imminent demise of legacy networks" due to increased interest in more cost-effective alternative wide area network technologies, such as Ethernet. The firm reckons discontent with legacy networks has built up over time, stimulated by the high cost of upgrading links running legacy technologies. Four in five (79 per cent) of the 100 IT directors quizzed in the study were discouraged by the cost of upgrading legacy technologies every time they had to add extra WAN capacity. The vast majority of survey respondents (89 per cent) said they would consider Ethernet as an option in future WAN upgrades.

"The death of ATM has been on the cards for a while now and it is only a matter of time before frame relay and leased lines start to play only a marginal role in networks, as companies don't want to have to pay huge sums of money for bandwidth they might only need in a year's time," said Roberto Bonanzinga, senior vice president, business development and marketing, Viatel.

Viatel recently debuted its own Ethernet service, so it's hardly a disinterested observer. Nonetheless its research fits in with the analyst reports on equipment sales and other indicators pointing to Ethernet's emergence as a serious WAN technology. Last month the Metro Ethernet Forum introduced a new telco standard 'Carrier Ethernet', promising cheaper bandwidth at higher speeds and plotting the demise of legacy telco technologies such as SDH/SONET. ®

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