Is Carrier-Class Ethernet Ready for Prime Time?

Though Ethernet is becoming standard in metro networks, carriers still face the challenge of extending it to small and medium enterprises.

Executives from service providers and Ethernet gear vendors will discuss approaches to delivering Ethernet access services on a broader scale with the SLAs customers want and the economics that make it sustainable for carriers.

Todays roundtable discussion, lead by Khali Henderson, group editor for PHONE+ and xchange magazines, includes Steve Daigle, vice president of product and sales development, Looking Glass Networks; Craig Drinkhall, senior vice president of product development and engineering for TelCove; Fred Ellefson, vice president, Etherjack Alliances, ADVA Optical Networking; and Kevin Sheehan, president and CEO for Hatteras Networks.

The worldwide market for Ethernet-based services will triple between 2004 and 2007, growing from approximately $6 billion in 2004 to approximately $18 billion in 2007, according to the Metro Ethernet Forum.

For Ethernet to be deployed successfully downmarket to small and medium enterprises, carriers must be able to reach these customers regardless of the medium (copper, fiber, SONET, DS1/DS3). The panel will discuss when and where to use each medium and how to normalize service delivery across all of them.

Making Ethernet look the same, hiding the complexity of what capabilities each medium will support is key, said Ellefson, noting OAM is critical to scaling Ethernet.

Similarly, Sheehans comments will focus on technical considerations and mechanics for implementing a service mapping framework as a means to cost effectively scale business access services.

Both TelCove and Looking Glass will speak to their experiences implementing Ethernet networks as well as alternative strategies, such as wholesaling Type II circuits, as a means to ubiquitous service.

The panel will tackle architectural, operational and standards issues that impact scalability; ways to address out-of-region applications and ubiquity; and traffic engineering and planning.

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