Thursday, May 15, 2008

Metro Ethernet Tipping Point

Metropolitan Ethernet, a service that was unheard of only a few years ago, is reported to be nearing a tipping point that could make it the dominant bandwidth service within the next couple of years. How did that happen and what does it mean for your business?

The Metropolitan Area Network, call MAN for short, is not a new idea. These networks are well established in larger cities as connections to SONET fiber ring services. The ring generally encircles the town or an area of high technology development likely to use the service. SONET or Synchronous Optical NETwork is a telecommunications technology based on time division multiplexing, which preceded the development of IP based packet switched networks.

What's new is that competitive carriers are coming to town with their own MANs, but basing them on the latest Carrier Ethernet technology. Bandwidths are typically the same increments as local area network standards. Basic Ethernet service is 10 Mbps, Fast Ethernet is 100 Mbps, and Gigabit Ethernet or GigE is 1000 Mbps. Intermediate bandwidths may also be available. For GigE Metro Ethernet you'll need to have your building wired or "lit" for fiber optic service. But Ethernet and even Fast Ethernet connections can often be provided using EoC or Ethernet over Copper if you are within a mile or two of the closest carrier POP (Point of Presence).

There are two types of Metro Ethernet service you may be interested in. Point to Point or E-Line service connects two business locations within the metropolitan area. E-LAN service gives you the ability to connect multiple locations in one large network.

What's the advantage of Metro Ethernet over legacy MAN services? First is the ease of understanding and connecting Ethernet protocol services, which IT people are familiar with in LANs. Perhaps more compelling is that the competitive carriers offering these services generally offer bandwidth pricing that is a mere fraction of what you pay per Mbps for TDM based telco services.

TDM or Time Division Multiplexing was the technology of choice when most communications traffic was switched circuit telephony. Today, packet switched data traffic far exceeds classic telephony on networks worldwide. Most new network development now is based on IP standards, including Metro Ethernet and long haul Carrier Ethernet.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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