Did you know that there was a Carrier Ethernet 1.0? That’s the moniker of the original set of standards that defined Carrier Ethernet. It wasn’t called that until these new services were introduced and the MEF needed a term to describe the existing standards. Not to worry. Both CE 1.0 and CE 2.0 are compatible. What Carrier Ethernet 2.0 does is expand the set of defined standardized Ethernet services from 3 to 8.
What are these new Ethernet services and what can they do for your company? Let’s take a look at what we have now. The role of the MEF has been to extend the LAN Ethernet standard that has become almost universal for interconnecting computer systems in-house so that it will work for Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN) and Wide Area Networks (WAN). Part of getting Ethernet on telecom carrier networks has been to standardize service offerings so that they will be similar and compatible from network to network. That’s led to three popular standardized Ethernet services. These are E-Line, E-LAN and E-Tree.
Ethernet Line (E-Line) service is the familiar point to point dedicated private line. Only your traffic exists on this line service and it only connects two locations. Companies often buy private lines to connect a remote data center, branch office, factory or warehouse back to headquarters. T1 lines are popular on the low end (1.5 Mbps), DS3 for modest bandwidths of 45 Mbps, and SONET fiber optic services for higher bandwidth requirements. Ethernet Line Service does all of this as well or better. E-Line is also used for dedicated Ethernet Internet Access connections.
E-Line offers several big advantages over legacy telecom private line services. First, it is Ethernet. That means it is inherently compatible with your existing local network. Simply connect your network edge router to the Ethernet connection installed by your service provider and you are in business. There is no need to worry about any fancy protocol conversions to make things work. E-Line bandwidths are far more scalable than other solutions. You can get just about any bandwidth level you desire, up to the maximum capacity of the installed port. You only need to make a hardware change if you need a faster port. Finally, Ethernet is less costly than T-Carrier or SONET on a per Mbps basis. It is not uncommon to get twice the bandwidth for the same cost as you are paying for a legacy service.
Ethernet LAN (E-LAN) service is a multipoint service designed to connect multiple business locations. This is a mesh network, similar to your LAN. All locations can communicate with each other easily. Ethernet LAN is just that. It creates a bridged connection among three or more geographically dispersed LANs.
Ethernet Tree (E-Tree) service is a hub and spoke network like the one many companies built themselves to connect a HQ location to many branch offices or franchises. Tree structures are also used for broadcast distribution. All locations communicate with the hub, but not each other. Traffic between leaves in the tree network are managed by the central hub.
E-Line, E-LAN and E-Tree are the three standardized Carrier Ethernet services of CE 1.0. The service types for each of these are doubled in CE 2.0 to include private and virtual private variants.
Ethernet Access (E-Access) is something new with two service types created for CE 2.0. This is something for wholesale access services, where a larger network sells Carrier Ethernet services to a smaller network through an Ethernet Network to Network Interface (ENNI). The two services are Access EPL (Ethernet Private Line) and Access EVPL (Ethernet Virtual Private Line). One of the additional features of CE 2.0 is the addition of a standardized ENNI so that networks can connect worldwide and offer Carrier Ethernet with an enormous service footprint.
Is your company looking at expanded or alternative interconnection services? This would be a good time to get a fresh set of Carrier Ethernet quotes for one or more business locations. The level of competition among Ethernet carriers is intense, with more services at lower prices being provided in nearly all markets compared to even a year ago.