With the rising usage of high-bandwidth data applications such as videoconferencing, cloud computing, unified communications and business-critical applications, enterprises are increasingly on the lookout for cost-effective, scalable, secure and flexible connectivity services. Carrier Ethernet has emerged as a WAN service of choice among a wide range of businesses in the healthcare, financial, education, software services and government segments due to its ubiquity, gigabit scalability, security and advanced quality of service features.
ETHERNET SERVICE CHARACTERISTICS
Cost-effective: Ethernet can be used to deliver a wide range of WAN speeds ranging from a few megabits to multi-gigabits while being significantly lower in cost when compared to traditional private line offerings such as SONET/SDH, ATM or FR VPN options. Since Ethernet is an IEEE standards-based technology, Ethernet service delivery equipment are available from multiple vendors thus benefiting from significant economies of scale. Ethernet services have also benefited from the standardization efforts of industry bodies such as Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) that have developed inter-operable specifications for Ethernet point-to-point and multipoint services.
Flexibility: Since Ethernet operates at OSI Layer 2, it can transport both IP and legacy application protocols (e.g., IPX, DECNet) which continue to be used by several global enterprises even today. Carrier Ethernet services can be offered on both fiber and copper media which is a major advantage in remote locations, where offices do not have fiber access.
Scalability: Ethernet can be used to deliver a wide range of WAN speeds ranging from a few megabits to multi-gigabits and are preferred for high-speed connectivity services of up to Nx10 Gbps today. Also, MEF, ITU and IEEE have developed a more comprehensive OAM and performance monitoring suite to manage these connections not possible in several competing alternatives including MPLS and ATM.
Security: Carrier Ethernet extends greater routing and policy control to enterprises and thus ensures greater security and privacy. Networking decisions can be taken independently by the business without involving the service provider. Additional features such as in-flight Layer 2 frame encryption can further bolster the security of a Carrier Ethernet service.