Carrier Ethernet 2.0 - Top wireline technologies in 2013

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What is it? Carrier Ethernet is the agreed-upon network service for both large and small businesses worldwide, and service providers have followed suit by aggressively deploying Ethernet across their networks.

One of the table stakes requirements that large multinational clients want from their service provider partners is to be able to serve regardless of location. Meeting these needs requires them to rent last-mile network facilities from a carrier partner in that market to bring the service to their client's remote or secondary site. Service providers must establish External-Network to Network Interconnection (E-NNI) agreements to reach clients outside their own footprints.

Enter the Metro Ethernet Forum's Carrier Ethernet 2.0.

Taking off where CE 1.0 left off as a single connection technology, CE 2.0 incorporates a number of new features including multiple Classes of Service and an easier interconnection process for eight standard service types, in addition to enabling efficiencies in mobile backhaul applications.

Whereas CE 1.0 only defined three services, CE 2.0, the MEF provides specifications for 8 services, including two of each respectively in E-Line, E-LAN, E-Tree, and E-Access. What CE 2.0 addresses is the ongoing need for service providers to either sell or purchase interconnectivity for their Ethernet services networks to fulfill off-net opportunities for their multi-site business customers.

CE 2.0 also provides management functions to ensure performance and SLA guarantees in addition to service activation and greater network visibility. Finally, the multi-CoS function sets performance objectives for geographical reach and application types.

Why is it important? Industry progress with CE 2.0 has been fierce. At its Q1 2013 meeting held in San Diego, Calif., the MEF announced that 20 vendors now offer Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) certified compatible products.

More recently, Comcast Business Services became one of the first service providers to get CE 2.0 certification for its E-Line and E-LAN Ethernet services. By gaining CE 2.0 certification, Comcast has another attribute it can cite when it competes against ILECs and traditional CLECs that have been building out their Ethernet footprints for new business customers.  

While non-standard E-NNI agreements between service providers will continue to be established, these agreements must be done on a case-by-case basis. Having a standard method of interconnection and related CoS parameters means that service providers can better respond to their wholesale and retail customers' off-net Ethernet needs.

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