Driving Telecom Service Change with Ethernet Technology

Thirty-five years after its invention as a LAN scheme, Ethernet WAN services are thriving as they offer carriers and their customers more bandwidth at far less cost than traditional Telco offerings. Monday’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo panel, “WAN Solutions: Getting an Edge with Ethernet,” will host a focused discussion of Ethernet’s building popularity and how agents, resellers and VARs can benefit from it.

“The next wave of Ethernet is delivering high-bandwidth products to more of the business population, said panelist Chris Peck, senior manager of sales and engineering support for indirect channels at XO Communications, an operator that offers the services to all comers. He projected he can reach 30 percent more businesses by extending Ethernet’s reach from 9,000 to 12,000 feet.

XO already supports access via copper, serial and wireless connections, he states.

But what’s driving core Ethernet expansion efforts by operators? Ethernet services are typically a simpler means of acquiring more than one or several T-1 connections, without the cost of T-3 equipment or wide-area interface cards for current switching gear. Building and extending the service supply to all those businesses that see the economic benefit light, however, is a work in progress.

Ethernet services are most widely used for Citrix-type applications that are delay insensitive and LAN integration efforts where businesses look to link networks without throttling down the speed between them, according to Peck.

The challenge faced by the telecom industry is getting the popular Ethernet services to all those that seek them. In the past, he recalled, if you weren’t on a carrier’s physical network, you couldn’t access the flexible bandwidth offering. That’s changed to some extent as operators, their equipment suppliers and channels together seek to connect the dots.

“Once alternate access methods were added, we really saw an upswing in use of the product,” said Peck.

To provide the broadest discussion of Ethernet services — challenges and opportunities — Monday’s panel has been stocked with scheduled speakers including MaryBeth Nance, executive director of business development and regional marketing for AboveNet Inc., and Heather Selbert, vice-president of operations for American Telesis. Jeff Ponts, executive vice president at Datatel Solutions, is the moderator.

AboveNet provides fiber optical connectivity solutions for business and carriers. Its private optical network delivers network and IP services in and among 14 top U.S. metro markets and London. AboveNet claims its network is used in markets such as financial services, media, health care, retail and government. The company reached a milestone this past July 2 when it turned up its 1,000th node.

American Telesis is a facilities-based wholesaler of private line, Internet, MPLS VPN, managed and Ethernet services. It employs an international network from which to resell its offerings to agents, brokers and resellers. It’s widely known for its Cisco equipment-based trading turret services.

Datatel Solutions describes itself as an Integrated Communications Provider that provides independent sales agents and vertical market associations with “all the resources needed to successfully sell and market voice, data, internet and other telecommunication products, services and applications” to their members and prospective clients.

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