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Data traffic on metropolitan access and aggregation networks will increase by 560% by 2017 according to a new survey.

The study, entitled: Metro Network Traffic Growth: An Architecture Impact Study by Alcatel-Lucent attributed the sharp rise to demand for video content and the proliferation of data centers.

It said 75% of total traffic will terminate within the metro network by 2017 as compared to 57% today, while 25% of traffic will traverse the backbone network as video, data and web content is increasingly sourced from within metro networks.

Traffic from video services will skyrocket by as much as 720%, while data center traffic will increase more than 440% during the same time period.

Combined, video and data center traffic are the key drivers for the overall forecast increase of 560% traffic growth in the metro.

Rising demand for ultra-broadband and cloud services

Alcatel-Lucent, which compiled the survey, said the 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 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 than being accessed from a central cache over the backbone network.

In addition, the growing demand for cloud services means enterprises and operators are adding data centers within the metro area to support service delivery.

The shifting traffic patterns mean more traffic will now stay in the metro, while considerably less traffic will traverse the backbone. It added 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, Alcatel-Lucent said 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.

Basil Alwan, head of IP routing and transport for Alcatel-Lucent, said the traffic survey was the first to show the impact of growth on operator networks, and the company will develop “a more SDN-enabled IP and optical portfolio” to allow networks to “evolve even further” into a virtualized environment.