XO Communications Steps Up to Ethernet VPLS Services

XO Communications, a national broadband and wireless carrier, has launched XO Ethernet VPLS, adding to its Ethernet Services portfolio. Though not the first carrier to do so, the move is significant coming from an Ethernet provider that boasts a million-customer reach across 75 metros, as private-line services become increasingly popular for the enterprise and SMBs. A VPLS option should also be welcome news to resellers like Speakeasy (now part of a three-way merger including Covad and MegaPath) who can now offer a wider portfolio of Ethernet services to a broader customer base.

Aimed at businesses who want to securely and simply link multiple locations while increasing application and network performance, Ethernet VPLS acts as a value-added pipe that can carry a number of IP and network services. Typically, XO bundles Dedicated Internet Access and MPLS IP-VPN on the same Ethernet circuit, which reduces total customers costs by sharing capacity. Customers can select bandwidth options from 3 Mbps to 1 Gbps, using Ethernet over copper or fiber plant, adding more capacity as needed or mixing and matching different speeds to different locations. Supporting mixed media also allows XO to reach a much wider customer base, as only 19 percent of U.S. businesses enjoy fiber access.

As a Layer 2 VPN, the multipoint-to-multipoint VPLS offers greater security to customers who dont want to relinquish routing control to their provider and instead maintain separate network domains between sites. The service supports IP and non-IP applications with four Classes of Service  Real Time, Critical, Priority and Standard  backed by SLAs similar to those for T1s ( at least for on-net traffic). XO is charging a single flat rate for access to any and all of these service classes, a first among Ethernet providers, according to the company.

Other XO offerings include point-to-point Ethernet Private Line for dedicated links between sites; point-to-multipoint Ethernet Hub, which links smaller offices or branches to a business headquarters or data center; and Ethernet access, a scalable pipe that carries Dedicated Internet Access, VoIP and MPLS IP-VPN services.

Todays enterprise networks are growing more complex in terms of the increasing number of applications and bandwidth demands they are required to support, said Tom Hobika, vice president of product management and sales engineering for XO Business Services, XO. Customers with distributed locations know that traditional data networks are expensive to maintain, operationally complex and not flexible enough to support the realities of todays enterprise IT environment. Ethernet is the de facto local area for network technology, and XO Ethernet VPLS enables organizations to extend the familiarity, simplicity and cost-effectiveness of Ethernet for wide-area networking to meet these challenges.

Ethernet VPLS is currently available for business and government customers, but XO Carrier Services wholesalers will have to wait until later in the year for the service.

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