Comcast dives into Carrier Ethernet 2.0

Carrier Ethernet 2.0 made its debut less than a month ago and Comcast is already raring to get started with the new technology.

Although Comcast is a relative newcomer to the Carrier Ethernet market, the company is already positioning itself as one of the new standard's top proponents through its position on the board of directors at the Metro Ethernet Forum. Comcast first started publicly offering its own native Carrier Ethernet services just last May and the company is moving aggressively to preach the benefits of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 to both its customers and its fellow carriers.

BACKGROUND: Carrier Ethernet aims for global connectivity

LIVING LEGENDS: Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe

The company has good reason for doing so, since it currently has Carrier Ethernet offerings up and running in 20 major markets in the U.S. and thus will have to rely on other carriers' Ethernet offerings to connect customers outside those markets.

The chief feature of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 is that it establishes standards for allowing Ethernet carriers to interconnect worldwide so they can share management metrics and exchange Ethernet traffic using established practices. The original version of Carrier Ethernet, by contrast, was designed just enable Ethernet standards over just one provider's network, meaning that carriers had to forge bilateral deals with one another on a case-by-case basis to effectively interconnect.

Additionally, Carrier Ethernet 2.0 lets carriers offer multiple classes-of-services (CoS) that let carriers develop more finely grained service-level agreements (SLAs) to better fit their customers' needs and desired service quality.

Karen Schmidt, the executive director of product management and strategy for Comcast Business Services, says that although Comcast has been offering Carrier Ethernet commercially for less than a year, it has quickly seen how the technology is helping out customers with large bandwidth needs.

"Carrier Ethernet 1.0 is about answering our customers' need for more bandwidth," she says. "As we talk to folks trying to replace their legacy technology, whether it's moving more data onto a data center or it's delivering real-time video, Ethernet is proving to be a superior technology for them."

Schmidt also says that having interconnectivity with other carriers will only help to further spread Ethernet as the dominant technology for LANs, WANs, mobile backhaul and more.

"Carrier Ethernet 2.0 provides the guts for how different carriers and ISPs connect to each other," she explains. "Today primarily we're only selling to customer on our own network and we anticipate that while we're already in 20 major markets, we will need to connect with other carriers to fit our customers' entire need. ... When standards are consistent, users can know what they're getting whether it's on my network or not on my network."

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

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