The Expanding Possibilities of Carrier Ethernet

Network Infrastructure Features

The Expanding Possibilities of Carrier Ethernet

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  January 01, 2012

This article originally appeared in the January issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

New Ethernet solutions are enabling carriers to make their services available on a much wider basis and at higher data rates than once imagined possible. That includes a range of both copper- and fiber-based solutions.

For example, Actelis (News - Alert) has been working with carriers to implement its Ethernet over copper solutions with Dynamic Rate Boost.

Joe Manuele, vice president of world sales and customer support at Actelis, explained that Dynamic Rate Boost eliminates crosstalk on copper pairs, those allowing the service provider to extend its reach or offer more bandwidth to select customers. Manuele added that Actelis and its customers are really excited about the symmetrical 10mbps Ethernet connectivity enabled by the solution, which he said is the first cross-talk cancellation of its kind now in production. While it’s based on an industry standard, he explained, implementing that standard and offering it as a system-level solution is unique.

One CLEC using the Actelis solution leveraged it to convert existing customers that had been connected over T1s, sometimes using up to three T1s, to carrier Ethernet delivering 2, 4 and 6mbps of copper pairs. The CLEC, he added, also launched 10mbps symmetric services to attract new customers.

Meanwhile, MegaPath (News - Alert) recently announced it is using a combination of ADTRAN’s Total Access 5000 and NetVanta gear to deliver what the companies say is unprecedented carrier Ethernet-based capacity over copper connections. The effort is also noteworthy, they say, in that it will elevate MegaPath to be the single largest nationwide Ethernet services provider as of mid 2012.

As of last fall, MegaPath was using ADTRAN gear to deliver 20mbps connectivity over copper in the Los Angeles market, but the company was building out such service to 15 markets, Aamir Hussain, senior vice president and CTO at MegaPath, recently told INTERNET TELEPHONY. In addition to the geographical expansion, MegaPath’s partnership with ADTRAN will enable it to ratchet up copper-supported carrier Ethernet connections in any of its markets to 100mbps symmetrical or even as high as 400mbps asymmetrical by leveraging VDSL2 running over up to eight copper pairs, adds Hussain, noting that will happen as customers demand and loop distances allow. Having this kind of flexibility and expandability is important, adds Hussain, given that only about 22 percent of buildings are fed by fiber.

MegaPath will leverage these connections to deliver such business services as high-speed Internet access, MPLS networking, multi-site IP VPN and private data networking for large corporations. As part of the effort, MegaPath has more than 200 central offices currently in service, plans to offer services in 400 central offices by the end of this year, and expects to reach more than 680 central offices by June 2012.

Kevin Morgan of ADTRAN said this announcement is yet another indication that ADTRAN continues to push the limits of copper. Up to 400mbps is six times higher than Ethernet over copper solutions typically deliver, he explains, adding that means “proximity to fiber is no longer a limiting factor” for carriers like MegaPath that want to deliver such premium carrier Ethernet offerings.

“We’ve taking the concept of bonding to offer some of these higher-grade, carrier-class premium service offerings” and without the requirement for microwave or fiber, said Morgan.

Kurt Raaflaub (News - Alert), manager Ethernet and optical solutions for the carrier networks division at ADTRAN, noted that bandwidth demand is always on the move, and that 100mbps and 1gpbs connectivity is now predominant. A year ago, he said, the company added lambdas to enable carriers to bring fiber-based connectively up to 10gpbs. But fiber and microwave reach only about 20 percent of customers, he said, so ADTRAN recently introduced three products that enable 100mbps connectivity on copper. That includes the NetVanta 868 and 850 and the Total Access 1424S-CE.

In addition to the above-mentioned advanced, many other service providers, including some of the world’s largest carriers, continue to expand their Ethernet services.

During the first half of 2011, Orange (News - Alert) Business Services added more than 1,100 Ethernet connections, an increase of more than 20 percent.

“Orange Business Services retained the top position on the mid-2011 Global Provider Leaderboard by delivering higher speed Ethernet connectivity to IP VPN customer sites across its extensive global Ethernet footprint,” says Rick Malone, principal at Vertical Systems Group.

Meanwhile, BT in mid November announced the expansion of its Ethernet Connect services to 28 countries and the launch of international E-LAN services. Ethernet Connect is BT’s adaptive Ethernet VPN service, which is designed for large organizations that require exclusive control over their IP architecture.

U.S. CLEC Integra Telecom Inc., meanwhile, last year said it is expanding its fiber-based network by funding 52 capital projects, 31 of which will be fiber expansion into new buildings and 21 of which are capacity augments at existing on-net sites. Integra has more than 1,700 fiber-fed buildings and 5,000 miles of high-speed long-haul fiber. The network delivers to customers speeds from 5mbps to 10gbps and services include MEF-certified Ethernet.

“Business Ethernet is a key ingredient to insuring that mission critical communications for enterprises, government entities and larger organizations are ‘always on,’” saysBob Meldrum, vice president of corporate communications at tw telecom (News - Alert), which connects more commercial buildings to its fiber network infrastructure than any other competitive communications provider and has the third highest market share of retail business Ethernet ports in service.

Edited by Tammy Wolf


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