While service providers have made it a priority to expand their Ethernet services nationally and globally through their own On-Net facilities as evidenced by recent announcements by Verizon to bring its VPLS service to more international markets, the real challenge lies in the time and expense it takes to creating Off-Net partnerships where a carrier does not have network facilities.
And while Verizon and other providers will continue to engage in pre-standard access and Ethernet-Network to Network Interconnection (E-NNI) agreements, Nan Chen, a pioneer in Ethernet standards and technology believes the better approach is to create a Carrier Ethernet Network Exchange, or what he calls CENX. Similar to how the advent of the data centers enabled ISPs to peer with one another at a common point, CENX opened three Carrier Ethernet Exchanges in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The value-add is that unlike traditional Ethernet off-net arrangements that are typically relegated to each service provider's respective footprint, Chen believes CENX can cut the time to make E-NNI arrangements from months down to days as service providers can connect at a common peering connection point.
CENX, however, is not the only company chasing the global Ethernet exchange idea. In related news, Equinix reported that it has added seven service provider customers (AboveNet, Exponential-e, Hibernia Atlantic, Level 3, PCCW Global, Reliance Globalcom and Tinet) to its Carrier Ethernet Exchange platform, which it offers at its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers.
- see the CENX release here
- and then the Equinix release here