Ethernet equipment

Access Heats Up for Ethernet

Carriers are putting a lot of emphasis on Ethernet access gear lately, a possible sign that the buildout of Ethernet services is reaching a new level.

Carrier surveys are showing a "huge amount" of Ethernet access activity, from vendor tests all the way to real deployment, Heavy Reading analyst Stan Hubbard says. Part of the reason is that aggregation and transport platforms have been deployed -- sort of a staging round. Now, carriers are onto the next step, where more gear gets installed around the network periphery. (See An Ethernet Expo Rundown.)

As a result, Ethernet access is likely to be a hot topic at Light Reading's Ethernet Expo 2007, which starts October 15 in New York City.

Access platforms will get the spotlight in a Tuesday afternoon session titled, "Carrier Ethernet Access: Business Challenges & Opportunities Associated With Broader Coverage." Vendors participating in that panel discussion include Actelis Networks Inc. , Aktino Inc. , Hatteras Networks Inc. , and Omnitron Systems Technology Inc.

Wireless backhaul is a contributor to all this access activity, but there's also a logical progression here for Ethernet services. Two years ago, carriers didn't have the network footprint to reach all potential customers, even in big cities. (See Ethernet Expo: Shop 'Til You Drop.) Now, it appears the networks are ready, leaving carriers to concentrate on access and customer-premises equipment.

Some vendors are finding they have to increase their product offerings to meet the demand for access gear -- including low-end demarcation boxes that might have just one or two ports.

Just this week, Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE) beefed up its line of EtherExtend boxes, adding options for one or two WAN slots, as opposed to the four or eight slots on previous versions. (See Zhone Expands EFM Line.)

"Because of the type of growth we're seeing, those products didn't serve all the market needs," says Steve Klein, director of marketing for Zhone.

Separately, Zhone also added to its Ethernet-over-copper options by putting out cards for its old Paradyne and Net To Net Technologies equipment. (Net To Net's assets were acquired by Paradyne, which was acquired by Zhone -- see Paradyne Nabs Net to Net Assets and Zhone to Buy Paradyne for $184M.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet Expo 2007, a conference and exhibition that will explore major carrier Ethernet networking and service trends. To be staged in New York City, October 15-17, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

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