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TELEPHONY’s GUIDE TO

carrierethernet A SUPPLEMENT TO TELEPHONY MAY 2008

BEYOND
ENTERPRISE
How pioneers like Cavalier
Telephone are penetrating
the new small-business
Ethernet market.

Cable Guys

>
Gain Marketshare page 8
Perfect Timing
in Wireless Backhaul page 16
PBT Goes Multipoint;
GLENN MOORE, DIRECTOR
What Next? page 20
OF MARKETING AND SALES
OPERATIONS, CAVALIER TELEPHONE
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© 2007 Embarq Holdings Company LLC. All rights reserved. The name EMBARQ Logistics and the jet logo are trademarks of Embarq Holdings Company LLC. EMB1-07-05158
CONTENTS ■
TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

DOWN A SIZE FROM ENTERPRISE


BY CAROL WILSON
Pioneers such as Cavalier Telephone are helping
to stake out the new market for small-business
Ethernet services. What those customers want
and how carriers are delivering it.

10
Cover photo by Joe Vaughn

UNQUESTIONABLE QOS 4
How start-up vendor Ethos Networks will guarantee your service level agreements.

ACTIVE ACCESS 6
Why active Ethernet fiber access, often overshadowed by PON, is gaining influence.

ONLINE CABLE INSTALLATION 8


For the latest news about carrier Cable providers are eating away at the Ethernet business services market.
Ethernet, visit the one-stop on the
Telephony Web site.
www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet
WIRELESS BACKHAUL TIME 16
How Ethernet gear will master the timing techniques needed to serve cell towers.

PBT’S PATH AHEAD 20


Why the next hurdle for provider backbone transport technology will be services.

ETHERNET’S THIRD GUY 24


There are two types of Ethernet equipment vendors. Why carriers want a third.

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TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

ETHERNET COMPLEX
SIMPLICITY HAS LONG BEEN LISTED among Ethernet’s greatest charms.
(I can relate.) But some of the same folks who can’t stop praising
Ethernet’s simplicity are constantly imbuing it with ever more complexity.
They’re forcing it to maintain quality of service functions and
intricate interconnection tasks. They’re teaching it how to tell time well
enough to carry voice traffic in wireless backhaul networks (see page 16).
They’re building sophisticated software to automate Ethernet provisioning. One of
the newest entrants in the space, Ethos Networks, explains on page 4 how it uses
complex algorithms to create a metro Ethernet network so constantly self-aware that
it can deny at its edges any traffic it knows might violate its service level agreements
at any point inside. Think of it as a velvet rope for a technology better known for its
big-tent appeal.
The services market is getting more complicated, as challengers such as cable
operators further fracture the market (read about that on page 8). Others are pioneering
new territory among small- and medium-sized business customers (see page 10).
In last year’s Guide to Carrier Ethernet, the man who coined the term Ethernet wrote
that there was “a big danger in this carrier Ethernet effort that they’re going to kill the
goose that laid the golden egg.” I remember similar things being said of MPLS several
years ago — that the label-switching technology originally designed to speed up routers
was being overburdened and overcomplicated with too many traffic-engineering
functions. It didn’t stop MPLS from thriving. But at the same time, an entire equipment
market has now cropped up offering relief from the excessive complexity of MPLS.
Provider backbone transport, or PBT, has been promoted as that simpler alternative
in metro networks. A lot of that simplicity comes from PBT’s nature as a point-to-point
technology. But although the technology is still young, it’s already graduating to
multipoint applications, requiring sophisticated control planes to handle the added
complexity (the ramifications of which you can read about on page 20). And in case
you didn’t get the parallel with MPLS, standards bodies renamed PBT PBB-TE for
“traffic engineering.”
At the same time, efforts are being made to simplify Ethernet (look on page 4). The
Metro Ethernet Forum is striving to make ordering wholesale Ethernet services as
consistent and predictable as buying a T-1. The previously mentioned control plane
vendors are offering to hide the complexity of Ethernet provisioning from the network
operator. And equipment vendors, particularly in the PBT space, are working hard to
establish interoperability, motivated as they are to make carriers more comfortable
with Ethernet.
They’d better hurry along, before someone invents a new technology designed as a
simpler alternative to Ethernet’s complexity.
—ED GUBBINS

www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet 05.08_TELEPHONY • 3

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

ETHERNET’S METRO
TRAFFIC POLICE
ONE START-UP AIMS TO PROTECT SLAS AND BOOST NETWORK USAGE.
BY ED GUBBINS

LOSS IS A FACT OF LIFE in packet- network in the first place, so that the bandwidth it
based networks. Traffic often pro- might consume can be put to better use.
gresses easily through uncongested Ethos’ switch, available in June, doesn’t even let
access networks, only to get deleted traffic into the metro network unless it’s certain
in an aggregation point already that traffic can reach its destination without violat-
clogged with more important, time- ing the service level agreements (SLAs) attached to
sensitive traffic — such as video it. Once capacity is secured for services with com-
conferencing. And that’s logical, but as the folks at mitted information rates, the remaining capacity
a new metro Ethernet equip- is allotted evenly among lower-
ment vendor will point out, U.S. PUBLIC ETHERNET tier or best-effort services. The
that traffic wasted a lot of SERVICE REVENUE result is not only SLA assurance
bandwidth along the way just (in billions of U.S. dollars) but better network usage.
to be deleted in the end. “If you know in advance the
The philosophy of Ethos
2007 .......... $1.433 fate of every packet before it
Networks, an Israeli vendor 2008.......... $2.049 goes into the network, then you
exiting stealth mode this 2009..........$2.766 can give concrete guarantees
year, is that if the network is 2010 .......... $3.569 to everyone,” said Adam Dun-
so congested in some places 2011 .......... $4.354 sky, co-founder of Ethos. “Our
that some traffic will be 2012 .......... $5.050 policy is to never delete pack-
deleted, then that excess traf- ets inside the network, only to
fic shouldn’t be allowed in the Source: Insight Research delete them at the entry.”

MEF TO STREAMLINE WHOLESALE ETHERNET SERVICES


The Metro Ethernet Forum continues its important work on a they’ll be streamlined,” Chen said. “If they ask for a certain speed
range of industry standards fronts. Perhaps one of the or class of service, there will be common definitions, so there’s no
forum’s most auspicious efforts is its most recent one: the confusion. End-to-end visibility needs to be ensured. Performance
formation of a new wholesale access group assembled to author a needs to be ensured, so delay, jitter and loss will be part of this
set of standard procedures for ordering Ethernet services on a group’s [focus].”
wholesale basis. This template, once established, will accelerate Ethernet’s drive
The aims of the group, formed only this spring, point toward a toward ubiquity, he said.
long-sought dream in the carrier Ethernet world: an environment in The new working group includes representatives from more than
which Ethernet services can be ordered as predictably and reliably 10 carriers, including AT&T, Europe’s Colt Telecom, France Telecom,
as T-1 services. NTT, Verizon and several top cable operators.
“Right now when Verizon orders a T-1 from AT&T, they know It’s no surprise that so many cable players and international
exactly what to expect,” said Nan Chen, president of the MEF. “They carriers make up the group’s roster. By making it easier for carriers
don’t have to say much. The same thing needs to happen in to purchase Ethernet services where they don’t have physical
Ethernet. But a lot of variables need to be ironed out first. infrastructure, the group’s work will allow carriers from all around
“Our goal is define the actual processes in a template of the world to more easily enter the U.S. market for Ethernet services,
Ethernet services being ordered between service providers, so “and vice-versa,” Chen said. —ED GUBBINS

4 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet
U.S. LEADS LEGACY-WDM

MIGRATION
THE MARKET FOR packet optical network-
ing equipment — populated by vendors such
To have this kind of end-to-end visibility of net- as Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Fujitsu Network
work resources, all the nodes in the network must Communications, Meriton Networks (now
be in frequent communication, a requirement Xtera Communications, Nortel Networks
you’d expect would limit the scale of the system. and Tellabs — was developed to help carriers
“I’m trying to create a state where every switch around the world transition from legacy Sonet and SDH
knows exactly what every other switch is doing,” networks to a mix of WDM and Ethernet. That transition
Dunsky said. will be led globally by North American carriers as a group
But Ethos makes that communication as effi- — and sooner rather than later.
cient as possible, minimizing the amount of infor- Major carriers worldwide have been projecting
mation those nodes need to share to do their work. declines in their spending on Sonet and SDH equipment
For example, rather than constantly updating one for the past two years. According to Infonetics Research,
another about all activity throughout the network, last year was the first year in which Sonet/SDH spend-
the nodes only need to communicate about poten- ing fell below 60% of total optical spending. (It was
tial traffic collisions and bottlenecks. The nodes 59%; the other 41% was spent on WDM gear). In 2010,
can calculate what’s happening at any moment carriers worldwide will spend more on WDM than they
based on what was happening moments earlier spend on Sonet. But carriers in North America will lead
and where things were headed. And rather than the way, said Michael Howard, founder and principal
describe everything that’s happening, they can just analyst for Infonetics. “North America is probably going
describe what’s changed since the last message. to be the first region to spend more on WDM than on
Another factor keeping internode conversation Sonet — possibly in 2009,” he said. “It could even hap-
low: Aggregated traffic flow in metro networks, pen this year.” —ED GUBBINS
where Ethos’ gear is meant to be deployed, is less
bursty and more predictable than individual traf-
fic flows. So there’s just not as much for the nodes
TRAFFIC GROWTH BY PROTOCOL
to talk about as you might think. “The result is we
can safely hold a domain of 200,000 services and 120 %
still maintain real-time admission control at the 2006
100 %
packet level for all of them,” Dunsky said.
2007
Maximizing network usage frees up more
80 % 2008
capacity. Dividing that extra capacity evenly
AVER AGE PERCENT

among lower-tier services should not only make 60 %


the performance of those lower-tier services more
consistent, it should make them, on average, faster 40 %
and better overall, Ethos maintains.
“A customer buys 100 Mb/s [service],” Dunsky 20 %
said. “It’s best-effort. In effect, he’s getting 20 Mb/ FR AME RELAY ATM
s. With Ethos, he’s getting 60 Mb/s. Or he’s get- 0%
E THERNE T IP/MPLS
ting 60 Mb/s today, but his video is always being
-20 %
interrupted. With Ethos, he’ll get 40 Mb/s, but his PROTOCOLS
video will never be interrupted.” Source: Infonetics Research

www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet 05.08_TELEPHONY • 5

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

ACTIVE ETHERNET GROWS IN


PON’S SHADOW POINT-TO-POINT ETHERNET FIBER TO THE HOME, WHILE OFTEN
OVERLOOKED, IS BECOMING MORE POPULAR.
BY ED GUBBINS
WHEN IT COMES TO fiber-to-the- The technology also has gotten more attention
home technology in North Ameri- because Cisco Systems and Zhone Technologies
ca, passive optical networks get all have debuted new active Ethernet equipment
the attention. But FTTH based on — Cisco’s, notably, as a first foray into fiber
active Ethernet technology is qui- to the building. And one vendor in the space,
etly growing more prevalent. World Wide Packets, recently was acquired for a
PON certainly dominates the domestic FTTH whopping 10 times its annual revenue (perhaps
market, but point-to-point Ethernet should not in part because it had gained favor at AT&T).
be ignored. According to RVA Market Research & Active Ethernet generally carries more band-
Consulting, 25% of FTTH subscribers in North width than PON, but many telcos dislike the
America not served by a Bell company are served fact that it requires active electronics in outside
by active Ethernet. (That’s more than 200,000 plant that could be susceptible to weather dam-
subscribers.) It’s an increase from 24% a year ago. age. Still, some vendors say that’s becoming less
Part of the reason for the growth is the sim- of an issue because more carriers — even those
ple fact that some of the larger with PON networks — are opting to pull out-
FTTH deployments in the side plant gear into their central offices (COs),
U.S. — including those of leaving point-to-point links that could one day
SureWest Communica- be upgraded to active Ethernet with no elec-
tions, Utah’s multicity tronics in the field. For example, SRT Com-
Utopia network and munications, a telco in North Dakota, recently
utilities such as Jackson, picked Zhone’s new point-to-point Ethernet
Tenn.’s — are based on gear to reach some customers that were as far as
active Ethernet. And 20 miles from a remote terminal. Those distant
NORTH AMERICAN active Ethernet deploy- homes will be served by active Ethernet but with
FTTH SUBSCRIBERS ments among telcos are no active electronics in the field.
(Bell companies excluded) increasing in number as well, Part of the reason some carriers are pulling
BPON 32 % said Michael Render, president passive splitters back into their COs, Render
GPON 30 % of RVA. “For telcos, it’s still a GPON- said, is because the original impetus for field
POINT-TO-POINT
E THERNE T 25 % dominated world, but active wins are splitters has changed. Years ago, telcos hoped
GEPON 13 % increasing there as well,” he said. to minimize fiber costs by putting splitters out
According to Infonetics Research, the in the field, shortening per-home fiber links.
Source: RVA Market Research & Consulting global market for active Ethernet FTTH But as widespread deployment has lowered the
gear, though less than a fourth the size of PON’s, cost of fiber, more carriers are running fiber
is growing just as fast: 32% per year and set to directly between the home and splitters in the
reach $1.2 billion in 2011. Demand is strongest CO. When those carriers need more bandwidth,
among competitive carriers and municipalities vendors will be ready to push active Ethernet
in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. upgrades for those point-to-point links.

6 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

SLICING
THE PIE
HOW ETHERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS FIGHT TO WIDEN THEIR WEDGE. BY RICK MALONE
THE LANDSCAPE of service provid- portfolios, which until recently consisted mostly of
ers vying for a slice of the more than DOCSIS-based dedicated Internet services. Unlike
$2 billion U.S. business market for incumbents, MSOs have no legacy business to protect.
carrier Ethernet services has split Carrier Ethernet deployments sit in their respective
into three segments: incumbents, geographic markets, where they have strong and
competitive providers and cable mul- typically exclusive residential presence and extensive
tiple systems operators. As providers try to gain a hybrid fiber/coax plant. They’ve grown Ethernet
share of this sizeable and rapidly expanding mar- share by targeting small- to medium-sized businesses
ket, their strategies vary significantly by segment. (SMBs) with bundled services and aggressive pricing.
With the high ground are incumbents, including However, MSOs don’t have the network reach or offer
AT&T, Qwest and Verizon. This segment makes up the robust services required by most large enterprises.
46% of the U.S. business Ethernet market based on Entrenched in the middle are competitive pro-
ports installed. As providers of data, Internet, voice viders such as AboveNet, Cogent, Level 3, Reliance
and wireless services to large enterprises, incumbents Telecom, TW Telecom and XO Communications
are migrating existing customer networks from lega- that were early to recognize the potential of the car-
RICK MALONE cy services such as ATM and frame relay to emerging rier Ethernet market. Port share in the competitive
is a principal with services such as Ethernet and IP/MPLS virtual pri- segment totals 34%. Many have a regional service
Vertical Systems Group. vate networks. Strategies focus on leveraging optical footprint, and some focus on specific applications
Ethernet and Sonet facilities to support enterprise such as dedicated Internet access or vertical market
networks. The major challenges for incumbents are segments. Competitive providers were first to address
scaling Ethernet architectures to support customer the needs of SMBs. With a limited embedded base
demand and managing service migration without to protect, competitive providers have been most
cannibalizing profitable services, such as T-1. aggressive pushing newer technologies such as Eth-
Working the edges are cable MSOs, such as Char- ernet-over-TDM, Ethernet-over-copper and VPLS
ter, Cox and Time Warner Cable. This is the smallest to gain an edge. Pricing for competitive offerings is
segment, at 20% of customer ports, but the fast- designed to chip away at incumbents; however, there
est-growing, with share gains from both the is no getting around the inherent advantage of iner-
incumbent and competitive segments in tia that incumbents have in retaining their share.
the past year. Cable MSOs have experience How will the slices of the Ethernet pie change over
with Ethernet in their time? The answer will be determined by how effec-
transport networks, tively providers address business customer demand
U.S. BUSINESS supporting voice ser- for reliable, scalable and competitively priced Ether-
ETHERNET SERVICES vices, video-on-demand net services. For incumbents, Ethernet is the future
Share of customer ports and video distribution foundation for converged services. For competitive
with hub-to-headend providers, it is a window of opportunity to expand
INCUMBENT PROVIDERS 46 %
COMPE TITIVE PROVIDERS 34 %
connections. MSOs and innovate. And for MSOs, Ethernet taps into
CABLE MSOs 20 % are positioning Ether- underserved markets and new revenue sources.
net at the high end of Regardless of how the pie is sliced, these players can
Source: Vertical Systems Group
their business product count on it being a lot bigger in the future.

8 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet
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TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

L-
A T SMAL
DS M
T H D EMAN A K E T HE
W ID S M .
G B A ND U S I N ESSE E R VICES
I N DB ET S
GROW M -SIZE E T HE R N
E D I U FO R
TO M T A RGE T
M E
A PR I L W IL SON
R O
BY CA
Cogent has been offering Ethernet at a flat-rate
price since the late ’90s, targeting SMBs in TSBs
— tall, shiny buildings — with fiber-based Eth-
ernet, almost exclusively over its own network.
Cogent offers 100 Mb/s services, gigabit Ethernet
and 10 Gb/s service. “We have 6000 small-busi-
ness customers,” said Dave Schaeffer, CEO of
Cogent. “We have approximately 10,000 miles of
metro fiber, about 260 rings in 100 markets. We
are directly connecting into about 925 very large,
multitenant office buildings — they average
580,000 square feet, 51 tenants, 42 stories tall.”
Cavalier got started last fall with its formal
Ethernet service launch. As a CLEC, it buys dry
copper loops, called unbundled network element
loops (UNE-Ls), from incumbents and bonds
When Ethernet first crept into the market as them using Hatteras Networks gear to deliver
services at 3, 5 and 10 Mb/s. “The great thing
a carrier service in the late ’90s, it was about this is that you don’t have to be in a bigger
building to get it,” said Glenn Moore, director of
mostly targeted at the high end: enterprises marketing and sales operations for Cavalier. “A
lot of people think they can’t get the service, and
with multimegabit bandwidth needs. they are surprised to find they can.”
For all the current activity, however, it’s
But even the smallest business has seen its bandwidth requirements important to remember these are still early days
grow as more routine tasks are automated and more commerce moves for Ethernet in this market.
onto the Web, so the appeal of services that are faster than legacy T-1s and “I hear a lot about it, but I don’t see it in
frame relay offerings has spread downmarket as well. Combine this need [Yankee] surveys yet,” said Steve Hilton, analyst
for speed with the arrival of technologies that enable Ethernet-over-copper for Yankee Group specializing in the SMB space.
(EoC) and cable companies’ hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks, add in “I don’t see small businesses adopting Ethernet
the renewed competition in the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) over whatever in large volumes. It may be they
space among incumbents, CLECs and cable operators, and you have a hot don’t know what they have, or it may be too early.
market opportunity. Small businesses do have this need for speed as
What you don’t have, however, is a monolithic view of what is, after all, a more of them adopt software as a service — on-
very diverse market. Some service providers, such as Cogent Communica- demand applications — and as they host their
tions, Optimum Lightpath and Verizon, are delivering Ethernet exclusively own Web sites with e-commerce functionality.
over fiber. AT&T recently joined Cavalier, XO Communications and oth- They have the need for more speed. But it’s slow
ers in using EoC to extend the reach of their services to the more than 80% going; it is taking a while.”
of the business world not served by fiber. Some companies are focusing There are multiple drivers for SMBs to look
on Ethernet for Internet access, while others are offering more managed to Ethernet, according to just about everyone in
services, such as virtual private network (VPN) capabilities or integrated this space.
access that combines voice and data offerings. “Historically they have been using T-1s, ADSL
For one stark contrast, consider two active competitors in the carrier and cable — one carrier we know was quoted as
Ethernet for SMB space: Cogent and Cavalier Broadband. saying Ethernet is the new T-1,” said Eric Vallone,

www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet 05.08_TELEPHONY • 11

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

vice president of marketing for Actelis Networks, There are a few significant vertical
a maker of EoC gear. “Everyone needs it — every- markets for carrier Ethernet to the
one wants it — because of the quality of service smaller locations, including educa-
and symmetrical services that you can get.” tion, health care and government. Cox
“We are seeing a lot of downmarket push for is selling significantly into all three
Ethernet services because of how simple, scal- segments, said Kristine Faulkner, vice
able and cost-effective Ethernet services are,” said president of product development and
Greg Harris, director of Ethernet services product management for Cox Business, because
management for AT&T. “A lot of SMB customers these networks tend to fit within its own
are familiar with the technology because they are regional footprint.
using it for the LANs. Usually, we can go right
into what they are using on their premises. It has
connections to Ethernet to make it readily avail- “WHAT WE LIKE TO FOCUS ON IS THE COST PER
able. The simplicity of Ethernet is really attractive MEG OF CONNECTIVITY, AND IT IS FAR MORE COST-
to small to medium businesses, and the scalabil- EFFECTIVE ON A PER-MEG BASIS. CUSTOMERS ARE
ity — it’s able to grow with them.” GOING FROM 1.5 MEG TO A 3 MEG SERVICE, AND
Ethernet is replacing legacy services such as
frame relay and offering more flexibility for
IT’S ONLY 20% MORE EXPENSIVE.”
growth than adding T-1s, often at a lower price. GLENN MOORE, CAVALIER BROADBAND
“What we like to focus on is the cost per meg
of connectivity, and it is far more cost-effective
on a per-meg basis,” Moore said. “Customers are
going from 1.5 meg to a 3 meg service, and it’s Verizon also is finding significant interest in Ethernet within the medi-
only 20% more expensive.” cal field, particularly for imaging, said Carlos Benavides, group manager of
Cavalier also will order additional dry pairs of metro Ethernet services.
copper to deploy for each customer to enable it to “It makes for instantaneous diagnosis of customer symptoms,” Bena-
upgrade the service later from a remote location vides said. “It makes medicine and the specialists at these larger downtown
without rolling a truck, Moore said. hospitals available everywhere. Financial and professional services — engi-
neering, law firms with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements for handling your
ETHERNET IS BEING USED in different ways by dif- data correctly and properly, which means there is a lot more data pushed
ferent segments of the diverse SMB market. For through the network — are another major market for us.”
example, a significant portion of what are called “We are seeing a lot of our customers provide data services for school
SMB customers are actually smaller locations of districts,” said Juan Vela, director of product marketing for Occam Net-
larger companies, said Bob Preston, senior prod- works, which can deliver Ethernet from its access equipment. “They create
uct manager for Cox Business. a ring topology around the school district, connected over fiber, that basi-
“It’s hard to classify the small- to mid-sized cally creates a VPN for that school district. It’s a common application for
business overall because it’s so fragmented,” he smaller to mid-sized carriers. Also, for hospitals we are seeing the same
said. “We have community banks and regional kind of connection being utilized over fiber for high-bandwidth applica-
banks and medical customers using Ethernet to tions like medical imaging and that kind of transfer.”
replace frame relay in connecting to a headquar- A great deal of Ethernet for SMBs is used to deliver faster Internet access,
ters location or a larger facility. with that access being used in some cases to also deliver a VPN securely
“But we also see more and more folks that over the public Internet. But service providers also report a growing degree
don’t have legacy networks,” Preston added. “In of upselling to point-to-point Ethernet connections among multiple loca-
the commercial real estate market, for example tions and integrated access services.
— office parks or apartment buildings — they “We are doing managed firewall service and VPN as add-on services,”
have had no connectivity, and we are putting Cavalier’s Moore said. “Those are things you don’t have to buy but we
in Ethernet over HFC so they can do remote market with the service. We are developing an Ethernet point-to-point or
Photo by Joe Vaughn

monitoring and management for power and for virtual point-to-point offering that will be out in the second quarter.”
security cameras. We are doing Ethernet for traf- Where Verizon takes Ethernet to small businesses, it is over the FiOS
fic light camera monitoring, and the security and network, which now passes more SMB locations all the time as it is built
monitoring opportunities continue to grow.” into neighborhoods. “The 10 meg service has been our sweet spot with

12 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

Make plans
for tomorrow.
small businesses,” Benavides said, adding that
there is no difference between what Verizon
OPTICAL+ETHERNET INNOVATION sells to large businesses and what it is now
selling in the SMB space.
ADVANCE AT&T bundles direct Internet access and
VPNs with its Ethernet offering as well.
“The way I look at Ethernet, AT&T has a
wealth of services to offer for SMB cus-
tomers, and Ethernet is an on-ramp to
gain access to all of the service offerings
INTELLIGENT ETHERNET TRANSPORT that AT&T has,” Harris said. “Particu-
larly for Layer 3 services, Ethernet will
AGGREGATION evolve over time to become the main
EXT NSION
EXTE
access service.”
DEMARCATION In addition to using Ethernet
services as the on-ramp for Inter- “WE DELIVER MORE AND
net access, XO Communications MORE BITS OVER MORE MILES FOR
Harness the power of the ADVA FSP 150
platform and experience the world’s most
advanced intelligent Ethernet solutions is turning to it for voice-over-IP LESS MONEY. CARRIERS WILL
ADVA Optical Networking has developed (VoIP) services and its integrat- HAVE TO HAVE A BUSINESS MODEL
the next-generation of Ethernet access ed IP Flex offering, said Brent THAT ALLOWS THEM TO DO THAT
products that are designed specifically to
Spooner, director of product
deliver intelligent Ethernet services for
carriers and enterprise users. Featuring management for XO.
AND REMAIN PROFITABLE.”
Etherjack® technology, the ADVA FSP 150
“I think when we use it as an DAVE SCHAEFFER, COGENT COMMUNICATIONS
family of products provides the advanced
Ethernet demarcation, extension and access technology, we are not
aggregation required for carrier grade
intelligent Ethernet services. really selling Ethernet,” Spooner
said. “They know what it is, but they are buying the underlying service, which is IP
The industry’s most advanced product
platform now includes two new products: Flex or [dedicated Internet access].” That may be why SMB Ethernet services don’t
The FSP 150CM, an E-NNI demarcation always show up on customer surveys, he said.
product, and the FSP 150CC-584, an n x
T1 or E1 Ethernet transport product. These
new FSP 150 family members are optimized THE GROWING EOC PUSH also may change the Ethernet landscape. Up to eight copper
for bulk retail services as well as wholesale
services such as wireless backhaul. The pairs can be bonded to offer up to 45 Mb/s of service, said Gary Bolton, marketing
FSP 150CC-584 extends Ethernet reach to director for Hatteras Networks. “The cost of adding extra pairs is $9 to $11 a month
out of region locations or locations that are
not served by fiber, while the FSP 150CM [in line charges],” he said, “so they can deliver a lot of bandwidth at a relatively low
provides the E-NNI demarcation function cost. They can also offer a different class of service for each service on the link: VoIP,
required for inter-carrier or intra-carrier
handoffs. With these two new products, videoconferencing, mission-critical data, best-effort Internet.”
ADVA Optical Networking enables carriers Cogent’s Schaeffer thinks the market will only get more competitive — including
to deliver intelligent Ethernet services to
more locations than ever before. on price. “As this becomes more of a mainstream technology, SMBs are more com-
fortable with it,” he said. “I think prices of all wireline telecom services continue to
ADVA Optical Networking is a market leader
in Optical+Ethernet transport solutions, fall, so the consumer benefits, and at the end of the day, we are in a very deflationary
providing next-generation network solu- industry. We deliver more bits over more miles for less money. Carriers will have to
tions for carriers and enterprises across
the globe. have a business model that allows them to do that and remain profitable.”
The main thing holding Ethernet back as an SMB service has been availability, said
Visit ADVA Optical Networking at booth no.
SU 3524 and explore how we can ADVANCE Rosemary Cochran, founder of Vertical Systems Group, which tracks the Ethernet
your network. market. With the cable companies now stepping up big time — both Cox and Time
Warner Cable are in the top 10 providers in the U.S. based on Ethernet ports — and
AT&T joining the CLECs in offering EoC, that might change. Verizon has even
become more aggressive in connecting businesses to its FiOS network, she said, but
there is still a ways to go before Ethernet is mainstream on Main Street.
“Service availability is one of the major inhibitors right now, one of the gaps,”
Cochran said. “It’s still particularly true in smaller cities and towns — a small busi-
www.advaoptical.com ness can’t call up the incumbent and get service.”
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TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

PERFECT TIMING CARRIER ETHERNET IS EMERGING AS A MOBILE BACKHAUL TECHNOLOGY,


BUT IT MUST OVERCOME TIMING AND SYNCHRONIZATION ISSUES.
BY BETSY HARTER

TODAY’S WIRELESS CARRIERS have “In this scenario, the equipment does not pack-
a big problem, but fortunately for etize the voice signal at all, but rather leaves it in
them, it’s a good problem to have. ‘native TDM’ form inside the packet channel and
Thanks to the proliferation of delivers it as a TDM voice call, so the callers do not
smartphones and PDAs combined notice any difference in quality,” Celentano said.
with unlimited data plans, data Glen Hunt, principal analyst for carrier infra-
usage has skyrocketed. structure for Current Analysis, noted that this
The challenge now is for wireless carriers to hybrid design is especially appealing to North
backhaul all of this data traffic on networks that American carriers who have already invested
were designed for voice. Current wireless networks heavily in T-1s.
backhaul traffic from their base stations to mobile “In Europe, the equivalent of a T-1 costs sig-
switching centers via leased T-1 lines from wireline nificantly more than in North America, so there
carriers, but new IP services are poorly matched is financial motivation to migrate more quickly
with circuit-switched infrastructure. to an all-Ethernet or all-IP infrastructure in other
“As we start to grow traffic and change the mix markets than in North America.”
between data and voice, we have to reexamine A second option, known as pseudowire or cir-
traditional backhaul techniques,” said John Celen- cuit emulation, transmits both voice and data
tano, president of Skyline Marketing Group. together via packets. Critics of this approach say
Some equipment vendors are promoting carrier the voice packets don’t always arrive in the same
Ethernet, or metro Ethernet, as the ideal way to order in which they were sent, and voice quality
backhaul today’s data-heavy wireless traffic, citing suffers as a result.
higher speeds and better rate-reach than tradition- “In this situation, clocking, timing and syn-
al T-1 lines, all for a lower cost per bit. chronization are fundamental to call quality
But what they don’t share in their market- because the base stations use a frequency reference
ing materials are those words that give network to set their channel separation over the air,” said
engineers heartburn: latency, jitter, crosstalk and Dr. Alan Solheim, vice president of product man-
dropped calls — all of which can occur using agement for DragonWave, a backhaul equipment
carrier Ethernet approaches without the right vendor. “If they don’t have a good frequency refer-
technology and engineering. ence, then the channels start to wander and merge
into each other, which causes crosstalk, interfer-
HYBRID NETWORKS VERSUS PSEUDOWIRE ence and dropped calls.”
Vendors are approaching carrier Ethernet for
backhaul in two distinct ways. The first is a hybrid CARRIER ETHERNET-OVER-COPPER
design that combines a carrier’s current T-1s for With fiber unavailable to most cell sites, some
TDM voice traffic while integrating carrier Ether- vendors advocate delivering carrier Ethernet over
net for data traffic. existing copper. Gary Bolton, vice president of

16 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet
marketing for Hatteras Networks, noted that 90%
of cell towers in the U.S. are copper-fed. Using 4 % 2 % 1%
IEEE Internet 2BasE-TL, or mid-band Ethernet, WORLDWIDE INSTALLED BASE
Hatteras delivers 5.7 Mb/s over each pair; two CELL SITE BACKHAUL
pair deliver 11.4 Mb/s, while eight pair potentially CONNECTIONS, 2007
deliver 45 Mb/s. (% technology share) 21%
“By delivering Ethernet-over-copper, we get two
times more bandwidth than what is available over
T-1s over that existing copper pair,” Bolton said. 72 %
Aktino’s broadband-over-copper solutions also PDH
MICROWAVE
allow service providers to reuse existing pairs of PDH 16 % 56 %
copper with its multiple input/multiple (MIMO) SONE T/SDH
output on discrete multitone (DMT) platforms, ATM
E THERNE T
said Hossam Salib, co-founder and senior vice OTHER 5%
president of marketing for Aktino. He pointed
out that while DS3 and Ethernet services are
15%
traditionally symmetrical, there are still many
applications in which the downstream bandwidth WORLDWIDE NEW
is entirely consumed, while much of the upstream 2%
CELL SITE BACKHAUL
bandwidth goes unused. CONNECTIONS, 2007
“A prime example is IP- or ATM-based DSLAM
backhaul because residential and business DSL (% technology share) 65%
13 % PDH
services are typically asymmetric,” Salib said. “Cell
site backhaul and residential and business video
transmission are other key applications in which
9%
the ability to enable asymmetric bandwidth will be Source: Infonetics Research 56 %
far more useful to service providers.”
The asymmetric functionality allows Aktino
to double the downstream bandwidth per cop- CASE STUDY: IMPLEMENTING CARRIER ETHERNET
per pair beyond the symmetric MIMO on DMT
bandwidth, resulting in nearly 7 Mb/s per pair to When M3 Wireless of license. The AirPair radio platform
the edge of the carrier serving area, Salib said. Hamilton, Bermuda, began featured several benefits that
offering wireless Internet services in appealed to Jackson, including
GETTING IN SYNC 2006, it sought a backhaul solution rapid link shutdown (RLS). This
Although vendors have devised multiple ways to that would provide more bandwidth patent-protected feature detects
deliver carrier Ethernet for wireless backhaul, no and higher speeds to support error conditions when carriers use
single solution stands out to consultants or ana- growing data usage. the spanning tree protocol in an
lysts as the best way to go about it. “One solution was fiber, but Ethernet ring. Spanning tree is a link
“Vendors have competing schemes, and we leasing fiber from another company management protocol that provides
have yet to see how they pan out,” Celentano said. would be costly,” said Kevin Jackson, path redundancy while preventing
“Once we get more carrier Ethernet in the net- wireless network manager for M3. undesirable loops in the network.
works, we will know how well it works, but right “Carrier Ethernet provided the most “RLS gives you the option to
now vendors are mostly still in trials. It is easy to bang for the buck.” detect error conditions on the link,
claim success in trials and small deployments, but After a diligent research process, and if it hits a certain threshold,
the carrier decided to go with it will shut down,” Jackson said.
when you scale it to hundreds of thousands of cell
wireless microwave for backhaul. “With Ethernet shutting down, it
sites, will it work?”
Jackson contacted DragonWave, a allows spanning tree to converge
Analysts do agree, however, that two things
provider of high-capacity wireless properly. From experience, I have
need to happen for any of the carrier Ethernet Ethernet equipment that offers learned how devastating it could be
solutions to work: standards and synchronization. a licensed product in the 13 GHz without a feature such as RLS in an
On the standards side, the Metro Ethernet Forum spectrum for which M3 holds a Ethernet ring.”
has developed technical specifications and imple-

www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet 05.08_TELEPHONY • 17

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

mentation agreements to promote interoperability


MOBILE TRAFFIC TRENDS and deployment of carrier Ethernet worldwide. At
TOTAL TR AFFIC
CTIA Wireless 2008, the MEF conducted a public
PACKE T TR AFFIC multivendor mobile backhaul interoperability test
VOICE TR AFFIC that simulated an integrated, multiservice, next-
generation core, aggregation and access network
40
supporting high-quality mobile backhaul services.
35 “In the lab, we see quite good results in all our
tests and feel that carrier Ethernet for mobile back-
MOBILE TR AFFIC (Gb/RNC/h)

30
haul will work up to MEF standards,” said Carsten
25 Rossenhoevel, managing director of the MEF’s
20
European Advanced Networking Test Center.
“After testing 85 devices from 15 companies, we
15 are confident that the industry is getting there.”
10 There was big news at CTIA on the timing
and synchronization side, as well. Symmetri-
5 com unveiled its network synchronization and
0 timing solution, the TimeProvider 5000 IEEE
SEP. 06 OCT. 06 NOV. 06 DEC. 06 JAN. 07 FEB. 07 MAR. 07 APR. 07 MAY 07 JUN. 07 JUL. 07 1588v2 Grandmaster clock, which makes the
rocky road to Ethernet much easier to navigate.
Source: Metro Ethernet Forum
The device is based on IEEE 1588, or PTP — a

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18 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet
protocol that enables accurate distribution of trials and actual deployments in Europe and the
time and frequency over packet-based networks. U.S. At this time, however, the company is unable
PTP employs hardware-based time-stamping to name its customers.
to synchronize all real-time clocks distributed “Migration will be a gradual process,” Binda
throughout the packet network. said. “The solution could be different in different
markets or even different regions.”
AN EMERGING MARKET
So if carrier Ethernet is such an ideal solution for
wireless backhaul, where can we find it today?
Although interest certainly is prevalent among
carriers, live deployments specifically for wireless Want to provide sure-fire
backhaul are hard to find. Most vendors can only
speak to success in the lab so far.
carrier Ethernet services?
Despite the successful interoperability test, the
MEF’s Rossenhoevel admitted that issues such as
jitter still exist in live networks, and more research
needs to be done. He acknowledged that many
carriers already are testing carrier Ethernet for
wireless backhaul in their labs, and he expects to
see U.S. deployments in about two years.
Mike Vizzi, product manager for Symmet-
ricom, agreed with that time frame. In April,
more than a dozen service providers and equip-
ment manufacturers began stringent lab testing of
Symmetricom’s Time Provider 5000 IEEE 1588v2
Grandmaster.
“We expect general availability and volume
production in August, with major deployments to
start in the first half of next year,” Vizzi said. We can help you get there, quick and easy.
Both Rossenhoevel and Vizzi noted that once Offering complete BER and RFC 2544 assessment, EXFO’s test instruments
carrier Ethernet catches on as the leading mobile help you turn service uncertainty into performance assurance.

backhaul technology, it will still take years for Ethernet Tester —


service providers to completely upgrade their net- FTB-8510B/8510G Packet Blazer
works from TDM–over–T-1s. 10 Mbit/s up to 10 Gbit/s Ethernet test interfaces

“Migrating from T-1s to carrier Ethernet for


mobile backhaul is not a simple rollout that is done
Multiservice SONET/Ethernet/Fibre Channel Tester –
in a few months,” Rossenhoevel said. He expects FTB-8120/8130NGE Power Blazer
the migration to take around five years. T1 to 10 Gbit/s SONET test interfaces; FTB-200 AXS-200/850
The reality is that service providers have thou- optional OTN and next-gen SONET

sands of remote base stations, Vizzi added. From a 10 Mbit/s up to 10 Gbit/s Ethernet test interfaces

pure logistics standpoint, migration will not hap- 1/2/4/10G Fibre Channel test interfaces

pen overnight but over a period of years.


“Some carriers might decide to leave parts of Radically Simple Ethernet Test Set —
their network just the way they are, while in other AXS-200/850
areas they need to upgrade to carrier Ethernet Compact solution available in single port, 10/100 electrical
or 10/100/1000 electrical and 100M/GigE optical configurations
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Las Vegas, NV, June 16-19
growth with a lot of traffic and new applications,”
Vizzi said.
Errol Binda, senior product marketing manager
for the metro Ethernet networks group for Nor-
tel Networks, said Nortel has several ongoing lab

www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet 05.08_TELEPHONY • 19

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

PBT’S NEXT PRIORITY:

SERVICES AT FIRST, PBT WAS DISMISSED AS MERELY POINT-TO-POINT. NOW THAT


IT’S BRANCHING OUT, ANOTHER THORNY ISSUE IS COMING INTO VIEW.
BY ED GUBBINS

LAST YEAR, WHILE PROVIDER BACKBONE TRANSPORT was But as PBT evolves at the hands of hardware and
gaining attention as a simpler alternative to MPLS in metro software suppliers to shirk off last year’s image,
networks, critics of the Layer 2 technology — including attention likely will turn to the services aspect of
MPLS router vendors — sought to marginalize it by empha- the technology as PBT’s next potential weakness.
sizing it was merely a point-to-point technology, unproven
in more complex multipoint networks. PBT SUPPLIERS BEGAN pushing their gear
And that was true. The technology works by setting up manually pro- beyond point-to-point applications late last year.
visioned connection-oriented “tunnels” of reserved bandwidth. It was Hammerhead Systems — which sells a gateway
created essentially by stripping down an existing multipoint Ethernet to liaise between PBT and MPLS equipment —
standard, provider backbone bridging (PBB), and disabling some of PBB’s promised new versions of its gear in this year’s first
automatic recovery functions to protect those tunnels. As a result, one of quarter that would support point-to-multipoint
the downsides of PBT is that it’s ill-suited for things such as multicasting. and multipoint-to-multipoint applications using
For that, you’d need to fall back on PBB. protocols called, respectively, E-Tree and E-LAN.
When PBT did become a multipoint technology, critics said, the complex- Nortel Networks echoed the move a month later,
ity PBT was designed to ease would be shifted to a software control plane, on promising E-Tree support in its 8600 Metro Ether-
which it would rely for provisioning and operating those tunnels. Also true. net Routing Switch by the first quarter, along with
This year, PBT vendors are beginning to introduce multipoint versions a new processor to greatly increase its capacity
of their gear, and the lone PBT control plane vendor, Soapstone Networks, (addressing another key criticism of PBT: scalabil-
is expected to be joined by another, Gridpoint Systems (which has thus far ity). And before the first quarter was over, Extreme
declined interview requests), and in the near term, at least one more entrant. Networks introduced its own PBT/MPLS gateway
So now that PBT is multipointed, there will be no more criticism of it as module for its BlackDiamond 12800 switches,
merely a point-to-point technology, right? Well, not exactly. adding that it hopes to add E-Tree and E-LAN
“Multipoint PBT is an oxymoron,” said Tom Nolle, president of the con- capabilities in the latter half of this year.
sultancy CIMI Corp. “PBT by definition is point-to-point. Anyone who says Extreme and Hammerhead also announced
‘multipoint PBT’ is using a shorthand jargon to say ‘point-to-point and mul- partnerships with Soapstone, further signaling
tipoint and multicast services on a physical infrastructure that’s a mix of PBT the growing importance of this new product cat-
and PBB and other variants of Ethernet.’” egory known as the PBT control plane.

20 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet
PBT PLUGFEST MULTIVENDOR PBT PROVISIONING
Carrier Ethernet World Congress, TPACK NORTEL
Sept. 2007 GRIDPOINT LONGMORN MERS 8600
VMS

ME TRO UNI PROVIDER EDGE


ME TRO NE T WORK PROVIDER EDGE
PRIMARY PBT TRUNK
SOAPSTONE NORTEL
BACKUP PBT TRUNK ESU
PNC
MANAGEMENT LINK NORTEL WORLD NOKIA EXTREME NORTEL 1850
PBT TRUNK MERS WIDE SIEMENS NE T WORKS MERS
8600 PACKE TS HID BLACK 8600
TEST EQUIPMENT LE-311V 6650 DIAMOND
12802

PBT TRUNKS
Nortel, which has demonstrated its PBT gear’s TPACK
interoperability with Soapstone’s software, is now NORTEL LONGMORN
testing its own internally developed control plane, MERS 8600 WORLD WIDE
PACKE TS LE-311V
which it expects to become generally available by
midsummer. Nortel’s approach is based on provid- ANDA
er link state bridging (PLSB), a link state protocol ER1002
CIENA CN 3106
based on existing Layer 2 standards that populates
forwarding tables to construct network pathways IXIA XM12
for Ethernet services. Layer 2 standards include
another link state protocol, intermediate system to
NOKIA NOKIA
intermediate system (IS-IS), a less-popular version SIEMENS
SIEMENS
of the “open shortest path first” protocol. HID 6670 HID 6650
PLSB is consistent with Nortel’s promotion of
using PBT alongside its older sibling PBB, even in EXTREME
BLACK ANDA
the same chassis. PLSB can operate solo or with DIAMOND ER1006
other control planes based on the Layer 2 spanning 12802

Source: Worldwide Packets


tree protocol as “ships in the night” — indepen-
HUAWEI
dent but on the same physical interfaces. Spanning QUIDWAY CX600 HAMMERHEAD
tree is one of the functions of PBB that is disabled HSX 6000
SPIRENT TEST
in PBT to maintain its tunnels. CENTER
“Non-PLSB portions of the network must be
able to peer with PLSB at the customer MAC layer
or be surrounded by PLSB at the backbone MAC the more-expensive hardware associated with data planes. But because it
layer,” Nortel wrote in a paper on the subject early decouples the control plane from the routers in Juniper’s portfolio, it mirrors
last year. “To a PLSB network, the surrounded the same division occurring in PBT and thus could ultimately, theoretically,
portion of the network has the same connectivity open the door to PBT for the devout MPLS vendor, whose CEO once called
properties allowed by PBB; it may look like a LAN PBT potentially “catastrophic.”
segment or another type of LAN network.” “It would be a handy strategy for PBT,” Nolle said of the 1200. “They’re
Notably, one of the more vocal critics of PBT, going to end up there one way or another, because customers will take
MPLS router vendor Juniper Networks, intro- them there.”
duced a new control plane strategy this year that Luc Ceuppens, senior director of marketing for Juniper’s high-speed
could present a competitive foil to PBT while business unit, said the question of whether Juniper will one day support
alternately opening a door that could one day PBT is “irrelevant” to the JCS 1200’s purpose. But he admitted that it
lead Juniper itself into the PBT space. In February, would be “technically perfectly feasible” for the 1200 to control PBT net-
Juniper announced the JCS 1200, a physically dis- works. “It’s just a matter of software,” he said. “External parties could write
crete control plane platform wholly separate from applications that integrate this type of functionality into the network, just
its routers that is designed to let carriers scale their like Soapstone writes applications for PBT control.”
control planes as needed without having to scale However, while the first task for PBT control planes is provisioning links, it’s

www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet 05.08_TELEPHONY • 21

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

not clear what will be required of them later on. Vendors and pure-play start- new services, carve out a piece of the control plane
ups alike eventually may be required to take on functionality that requires the exclusively for the new service, test it independent-
expertise of a full-fledged operations support systems (OSS) supplier. ly of existing services while sharing the existing
“Ultimately Soapstone, Gridpoint, Juniper and lot of other guys are going hardware, and manage the unique requirements of
to find that the control plane is the camel’s nose under the OSS tent for each service separately but on the same hardware.
them,” Nolle said. “It’s going to keep dragging them higher, and eventually In Nortel’s approach, services stem from IS-IS,
they’ll have to find solid partners in that area or be a lot more involved in which handles both service discovery and topol-
OSS/[business support services] processes than they are at the moment.” ogy discovery. PLSB, meanwhile, secures the
network resources needed to deliver those services.
MEANWHILE, THE NEXT IMPERATIVE for PBT technology, as its proponents “PLSB can therefore be thought of as a sophisti-
vie to elevate it as a true alternative to IP/MPLS, will be to make service cated computation that takes network topology
creation as clear and straightforward in the PBT world as it is today in IP. and service information provided by IS-IS as input
“The real priority with PBT is a service conception problem, service and produces forwarding tables as output,” Nortel
operations,” Nolle said. “If I want to create a service today, I’ve got to create said in a white paper on the subject.
it through automated tools. That means I’ve got to have some conception Services are tagged with and identified by
of an end-to-end service that I can describe in a data model and then turn headers — bits added to the front of the data
a software program loose on to create it on a physical infrastructure. packets — that note whether the service is to
“All control plane vendors can do is provision infrastructure,” he added. be unicasted or multicasted. But even for multi-
“They can’t create services.” cast traffic, reverse pathways are provisioned
Juniper can easily jump on this point. One of the benefits the router ven- along the same route as the main pathway in
dor is promoting in its new JCS 1200 control plane is the ability to create Nortel’s PLSB network, creating what seems like

22 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet
a bidirectional point-to-point link. This way, istics, including service quality. And the process to create that E-NNI, still
Ethernet’s existing operations, administration ongoing, is fraught with complex questions about where services are cre-
and maintenance mechanisms (OA&M) are left ated and measured. At the customer premises? In the carrier network?
intact, or as Nortel put it, they “just work.” Rolling out end-to-end services with PBT control planes is sure to add
even more complexity to those questions — more payback, perhaps, for the
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SERVICES ASPECT of simplicity of PBT.
PBT often can be overlooked because, in enter-
prise applications, there’s a fine line between
infrastructure and services, Nolle said. But he
maintained that “if you really want to make PBT
and carrier Ethernet the equivalent of MPLS,
you’ve got to have a broader conception of servic-
es than carrier Ethernet can currently support.”
One hurdle in applying such a broad concep-
tion of services to carrier Ethernet is in establishing
network-to-network interfaces (NNIs) at Layer 2,
he said. Using Layer 2 protocols such as Ethernet, it
can be difficult to make the network control plane
coexist with the user’s network control. “There’s
never been any such thing as a Level 2 NNI,” Nolle
said. “It’s very difficult to create carrier Ethernet
services without creating some unpleasant linkages
between a user’s control plane and the network’s
control plane that you don’t want to have.”
One possible solution, from pseudowire vendors,
is to use an enhanced protocol, a sort of Level 2.5,
to create a network overlay for carrier Ethernet ser-
vices. That overlay would operate through tunnels
in the network’s bandwidth, which would be pro-
visioned by a control plane separate from the one
controlling the network’s physical infrastructure.
Theoretically that might allow carriers to tackle If you’re looking for treasure at the end of your Carrier Ethernet journey, you need
things such as OA&M that have been tough nuts to make sure that the solution you choose will ensure your bottom line, that it will
to crack. In fact, Nolle said, these issues overshad- scale to support additional customers and bandwidth requirements, and most
importantly, that it will optimize your total cost of ownership.
ow the entire debate surrounding PBT.
“Ultimately the fate of the MPLS versus car- With over 30 years of experience in networking, and a specific focus on Carrier
rier Ethernet battle — those two rather than PBT Ethernet access networks, we can help you plot your path to Carrier Ethernet.
— depends on how long it takes the carrier Eth- Visit us at NXTComm & SCTE Cable-TEC EXPO or
ernet people to understand the infrastructure online @ http://www.ethernet-oasis.com!
application of Ethernet versus how long it takes
for the router guys to figure out how to make a
stripped-down version of T-MPLS that’s roughly
price-competitive with carrier Ethernet,” he said.
The Metro Ethernet Forum, which authored http://www.telco.com
the definitions of the E-Line, E-LAN and E-Tree
services, has generally stayed away from trans-
port issues. But it is crossing that line for the first
time with an external NNI (E-NNI) that it is cur-
rently working on: a common set of specifications
that would allow carriers to hand off Ethernet
services consistently, retaining all their character-

www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet 05.08_TELEPHONY • 23

TE LE PH O NY’S G U I D E TO CAR R I E R ETH E R N ET

WAITING FOR
ETHERNET’S THIRD GUY
CARRIER ETHERNET EQUIPMENT VENDORS GENERALLY FALL INTO TWO CAMPS THESE DAYS.
MOST CARRIERS WOULD PREFER TO CAMP SOMEWHERE ELSE. AS TOLD TO ED GUBBINS
THE WAY CARRIER ETHERNET equipment between the Ethernet guys and the router guys. (I’ve
is sold today, we tend to see vendors in never had clients get mad at me for saying things like,
one of two camps: the Sonet-replacement, ‘Your company’s going to die,’ but I’ve had people
claw-your-way-up-from-the-bottom- get mad at me for saying, ‘You should consider PBT.’
of-the-network guys or the enterprise-services, That’s really offensive.)
claw-your-way-down-from-the-top guys. But oper- “Meanwhile, operators are saying, ‘I have traffic
ators I’ve talked to aren’t particularly interested in growth. I need a metro architecture that, first and
either one of those two guys. They’re looking for a foremost, supports my current incremental service
third guy — a guy who says Ethernet is to metro missions, the ones my old architecture can’t sup-
infrastructure what IP is to the core. A guy who will port. I’d then like it to gracefully absorb traffic from
show me I can create services and do traffic engi- other missions as the equipment associated with
neering in a flexible way on top of Ethernet. I don’t those other missions ages out of rational sustaining.
care if it uses [provider backbone transport] or If I have users taking TDM voice channels on Sonet
[provider backbone bridges]; I just care that I have pipes, for example, why would I want to force them
those sets of properties. Because there are situations to convert to some kind of TDM over Ethernet?’
TOM NOLLE in my network where I believe deploying IP is not “When someone comes in and says, ‘I have the
is president my best choice. perfect answer to your resilient packet ring prob-
of CIMI Corp. “You could argue that the logical star topology of
metro networks tends to favor simple Level 2 solu-
tions such as Ethernet. Almost all the traffic on metro
“THEY’RE LOOKING FOR A THIRD
networks is focused on getting out of the metro. In GUY — A GUY WHO SAYS ETHERNET
core networks, you have a relatively promiscuous IS TO METRO INFRASTRUCTURE
distribution of traffic among the exit points; there’s WHAT IP IS TO THE CORE.”
no real predictable path. So connectionless IP pro-
tocols are great for core missions. But in the metro, if
all my traffic is going to an off-ramp, what do I need
routing for? lem,’ they say, ‘I don’t have one.’ If someone says,
“In the U.K., the higher density of demand makes ‘I have the perfect answer to your carrier Ethernet
it possible to extend metro architectures between access problem,’ they say, ‘I don’t have that either.’
metros. BT became a focus for IP/MPLS versus Eth- They have a metro bandwidth problem. The irony is
ernet PBT. It had a choice between deploying Level 2 carrier Ethernet and PBT solve that problem rather
or 3 across a wider area. Most operators don’t. They’ll well. But there are still issues with carrier Ethernet,
do Ethernet or IP, and all they’re trying to figure out and those issues are predominantly linked to the
is how to optimize whichever choice they make. fact that the carrier Ethernet process has been cre-
“There are other things going on at the demand ated by these two disparate camps. Because they
level that are beginning to make metro infrastruc- haven’t come together and created this third guy
ture look a little more like the core, and vice versa. So who’s got the infrastructure mission, the voids
over time it’s very likely there will be increased colli- associated with Ethernet in an infrastructure mis-
sion between the PBT folks and the MPLS folks and sion have never really been uncovered.”

24 • TELEPHONY_05.08 www.telephonyonline.com/ethernet
Want deeper INSIGHT
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