International voice and data services have been available for decades. We’re well aware of the extensive undersea fiber optic cables that link continents. What’s different now is a change of protocol and the availability of new services for companies and organizations worldwide.
The reason that Ethernet is displacing earlier protocols is that IP packets are now the dominant packaging for electronic communication. Nearly all Local Area Networks (LANs) are Ethernet based. The Internet, the largest and most connected set of networks, is based on routing IP or Internet Protocol packets. So why wouldn’t you simply extend the networks you have now using an Ethernet protocol?
The only thing stopping a faster switch over to IP based core networks is legacy. The massive investment in infrastructure over the last century isn’t going to go away all at once. That infrastructure was largely built by the telephone companies for their own use and is based on Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) telco standards such as T1, DS3 and SONET.
Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to rip out all the existing telecom equipment that works perfectly well just to have Ethernet services available. Carrier Ethernet can run over IP core networks or TDM networks. Ethernet over T1 (EoDS1) works well as a last mile connection to join MPLS networks or as a point to point private line. The existing T1 infrastructure is so extensive that it can be brought into nearly any business, even in rural areas. Ethernet over DS3 (EoDS3) up the bandwidth to 45 Mbps. Ethernet over SONET picks up at 155 Mbps and goes to at least 10 Gbps, with some connections available at 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps.
One factor that has hastened the adoption of Carrier Ethernet is the existence of an industry standards group called the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). This group serves to establish and maintain the standards that all manufacturers and Ethernet service providers will use to enter the Ethernet marketplace. One standard of note is the E-NNI or Ethernet Network to Network Interface. This provides a predictable and carrier-agnostic way for two networks to exchange traffic. As they do this, each carrier expands the reach of its own services. It is no longer necessary to lay fiber around the world to connect to international destinations. Carriers can create peering arrangements through E-NNIs to gain access to the markets that they don’t directly serve.
Level 3’s award winning project involved one of the world’s largest banking and financial services companies. The Ethernet business solution supported this customer’s connectivity throughout Brazil. More and more large and medium size corporations are looking at Ethernet services to interconnect their various locations worldwide. Smaller companies are finding that the cost advantages and easy connectivity of Ethernet makes it well worthwhile to switch services at contract renewal time for for new installations.
Does your large, medium or small organization need better connectivity at lower prices than what you’ve traditionally paid for legacy telecom services? If so, check pricing and features of Carrier Ethernet services now.
Note: Map of Latin America image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.