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Lending Voice to Ethernet


The LAN protocol Ethernet long
ago infiltrated the metro as service providers sought to provide seamless data networks to their enterprise customers. Now, those same networks are being updated to handle the QoS requirements of voice and video.

BellSouth Interconnection Services, for example, filed a tariff in April for an enhanced wholesale metro Ethernet service for its CLEC customers. The new offer builds on BellSouth ICS’s native mode LAN interface (NMLI) service with the addition of “premium” and “priority” classes of service. The basic NMLI service is a point-to-point symmetrical Ethernet service with best-efforts delivery at 10 and 100mbps as well as gigabit speeds.

In contrast, the premium service is a point-topoint or point-to-multipoint service offered at committed rates of 10, 20, 50, 100, 250 and 500mbps. Premium ports are available in fixed rate or burstable options. The 10, 20 and 50mbps services can burst to 100mbps while the 100, 250 and 500mbps services can burst up to a full gigabit.

Jason Cook, product manager for BellSouth ICS metro Ethernet services, says the premium service also enables aggregation of multiple remote circuits into one following the IEEE 802.1q virtual LAN standard. “So, for example, a 500 megabit circuit could aggregate 10 or 20 megabit circuits,” he says.

Furthermore, he says the premium service offers SLAs, such as 99.9 percent network availability, 55ms latency and four hours mean time to repair. “We credit back three days of monthly recurring charges for each incident,” Cook says.

A reporting function enables carriers to have real-time surveillance of the network services they purchase, including status, performance, utilization and alarms. The priority class of service from BellSouth ICS offers the same features as the premium service plus traffic prioritization to support quality-sensitive traffic such as voice or video.

Basic and premium services are priced per port. The 802.1q forwarding and the prioritization are added feature charges. There is an extra data channel charge for circuits greater than 10 miles in rate bands from 10-25 miles, 26-25 miles and 36-plus.

Cook says the service is tariffed only for local use, but the wholesaler expects to file an interstate tariff with the FCC by the end of the year. He adds retail customers already are using the service, but no wholesalers were signed at press time in early May.

In a similar move, Progress Telecom LLC announced in late April at the telx Customer Business Xchange (cbx) meeting in New York City it will begin to offer Ethernet-over-SONET transport with three distinct levels of service throughout its Eastern U.S. footprint. Both metro and longhaul options are supported.

Progress Telecom’s Voice Grade Ethernet transport will offer the same service levels as traditional private line services while providing the scalability and flexibility inherent in Ethernet offerings. Data Grade and Basic Grade Ethernet transport will provide customers with lower-cost connectivity suitable for less demanding applications. The availability for each service is 99.999 percent, 99.5 percent and 99 percent, respectively, notes Paul Aiello, vice president of sales and marketing for Progress Telecom.

Progress Telecom, bolstered by additional PoPs and an Ethernet network from its acquisition of EPIK in late 2003, recently rolled out a metro/long-haul Ethernet backbone along the Eastern seaboard corridor, starting at the telx facility in New York and extending to Miami with eight interconnection points in five cities. The carrier also is tapped into the VPF, or Voice Peering Fabric, hosted by telx Group Inc. and partner Stealth Communications Inc.

Greg Tennant, vice president of customer service delivery for Progress Telecom, says VoIP providers will be able to use the backbone to peer with any other VoIP provider on an IP-to-IP basis. He says, what differentiates Progress Telecom is no other long-haul provider can deliver the metro connections or the voice-grade Ethernet. Metro fiber carrier Looking Glass Networks Inc. also announced Ethernet upgrades to its Extended Regional Metro Connectivity offering, which it rolled out more than six months ago to provide carriers with redundancy and diversity to major data aggregation locations between metro markets.

Specifically, in late April the metro carrier announced its EtherGLASS services would be available between New York and Washington D.C. through the extended metro offer. The service, which includes full and fractional gigabit Ethernet as well as 10 and 100mbps services, already is available in all of the company’s 12 metro markets. Looking Glass also announced it is offering flat-rate pricing rather than mileage-based pricing for its Ethernet services in on-net locations between New York and D.C.

Also at the telx cbx meeting, WilTel Communications Inc. announced its services, including its 15-month-old Ethernet Wide Area Networking (EWAN) service, would be expanded in New York City through its interconnection at the telx facility at 60 Hudson St. EWAN enables customers to seamlessly transport traffic regardless of existing network infrastructure. WilTel’s EWAN service is a point-to-point and point-to-multipoint Layer 2 technology with bridging functionality for wide-area and local-area networks. It allows users to choose the appropriate level of service ranging from high-quality voice and real-time video applications to lower quality applications such as Web browsing. EWAN uses WilTel’s national ATM backbone and its MPLS capability, providing transport as well as access to IP VPN and dedicated Internet access services.

Lightpath, the telecom division of Cablevision Systems Corporation, announced in April the completion of its migration from SONET to DWDM architecture in its network serving the Tri-State metro area, including New York City, Long Island, Westchester, southern Connecticut and northern New Jersey. The transformation will enable the company to migrate to a 10 gigabit-enabled core - additional capacity the company plans to use to deliver metro Ethernet and other IP-based services.

The company plans to use a blend of next generation SONET, Resilient Packet Routing (RPR) over SONET and coarse WDM to support customers that deploy more complex applications exceeding OC48. 10Gbps SONET and CWDM technology will allow the company to deliver higher bandwidth services, such as gigabit Ethernet and storage area networking (SAN). Speaking at the telx cbx meeting, Ed Mooney, manager of carrier services for Lightpath, said the company will be rolling out managed Ethernet services in its footprint. The company has 1,600 on-net buildings in the Tri-State area, he says.

Even neutral interconnection provider telx is facilitating wholesale Ethernet connections through its new Brilliant Platform enabled by Turin Network Inc.’s Traverse 2000 Multiservice Transport Platform. The telx platform’s Ethernet transport services are suited for service providers and large enterprises requiring carrier-class, IPcentric connectivity for applications such as Ethernet-based private lines, transparent LAN services and Internet access, as well as applications with more stringent latency and QoS requirements such as VoIP and IP video. Fast Ethernet and gigabit Ethernet connections are available up to full wire-speed rates.

Links

BellSouth Interconnection Services www.interconnection.bellsouth.com
LightPath www.lightpath.net
Looking Glass Networks Inc. www.lglass.net
Progress Telecom LLC www.progresstelecom.com
Stealth Communications Inc. www.stealthcommunications.com
telx www.telx.com
Turin Network Inc. www.turinnetworks.com
WilTel Communications Inc. www.wiltel.com


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