Neutral Tandem, a provider of tandem interconnection services, has decided to move into the emerging Ethernet exchange market.
Their product addresses the need for Ethernet providers to expand their market reach by partnering with other carriers where they don't have network facilities. While the newly ratified Metro Ethernet Forum External Network to Network Interconnection (E-NNI) standard will help, up till now service providers have had to engage in lengthy one-off E-NNI arrangements with other carriers to expand their respective Ethernet footprints.
By providing a neutral interexchange point, Neutral Tandem will simplify the E-NNI process for carriers by providing them with a streamlined process to interconnect their Ethernet offerings in order to service customers with multiple locations that may or may not be in that particular carrier's footprint. In addition to enterprise data services, Neutral Tandem said it services could be leveraged for wireless backhaul. Initial markets that will get the service will include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.
There's been no shortage of activity in the Ethernet exchange space. Colocation provider Equinix launched its Ethernet exchange service in October, which was then closely followed by the debut of Ethernet pioneer Nan Chen's CENX in November. However, Neutral Tandem believes that because it runs its own MPLS network, it has a distinct advantage over these providers.
"The other two have just collocation space," said Surendra Saboo, Chief Operating Officer for Neutral Tandem in a Connected Planet article. "They are geographically limited to where they are physically located. We have a network so people can connect to us in Chicago and we can make buildings in Milwaukee and Indianapolis available to them. They can have an Ethernet extension from Chicago to Indianapolis and connect to a tail provider in Indianapolis."