Cable Tech

Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled

SEOUL, South Korea -- The shape of standards that will define future Ethernet-based services is being outlined to packed audiences this month during the Light Reading Live! Asia/Pacific Roadshow. Moderators here say part of the cost of adding Ethernet services to a carrier's portfolio has to do with exactly how such future services are defined.

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) is aiming to define six types of services shown in the chart below, which is taken from the show's introductory lecture by Bob Mandeville, Light Reading's Ethernet Project Director and President of Iometrix Inc., a test laboratory.

  • Ethernet Private Line services are clear channels running over Sonet/SDH infrastructure. They offer the rock-solid QOS guarantees of Sonet/SDH but come with Ethernet interfaces, so users can buy the amount of bandwidth they actually need and can upgrade it easily.
  • Ethernet Relay Service is conventional Frame Relay, with Ethernet interfaces.
  • Ethernet Wire Service defines clear channels running over Layer 2 infrastructure, like an MPLS VPN. This means the service makes more efficient use of bandwidth than Ethernet Private Lines, but is defined differently and doesn’t come with the same rock-solid QOS guarantees.
  • Ethernet Multipoint Services provide any-to-any Ethernet connections, and are more commonly known as Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS).
  • Ethernet Relay Multipoint service. This is an enhanced Frame Relay service, one that enables any-to-any topology VPNs and also enables multiple virtual connections to be consolidated into a single connection, reducing configuration chores.
  • Ethernet Access to MPLS VPNs. The key point here is that it's a Layer 3 VPN – in other words, one where the carrier effectively runs the users' router network, taking control of its IP addressing scheme.

Mandeville says defining future Ethernet services in a similar way as existing services will help carriers launch them without cannibalizing revenues from legacy offerings. A carrier could, for instance, provide Ethernet Wire Services (EWS) at a small discount to its private line rate at 2 Mbit/s, but then offer to upgrade the EWS service to 4 Mbit/s for a relatively modest increase in tariff. The carrier's costs in providing the extra bandwidth would be very low, because the connection would be reconfigured remotely. So the extra revenue is nearly all profit.

A whole slew of other upcoming standards for running Ethernet over access networks are also being outlined in the Light Reading Live! Asia/Pacific Roadshow, as shown in the chart below.

These include:

  • 10Pass-TS defines a way of running 10-Mbit/s symmetrical Ethernet connections over copper local loops (Category 3 cable), using VDSL technology, for distances of at least 750 meters.
  • 2Base-TL is another Ethernet over DSL option, offering a longer reach of at least 2,700 meters and a lower symmetrical bandwidth of 2 Mbit/s. It also defines higher speeds, achieved by using multiple copper pairs.
  • 100Base-LX10/BX10 and 1000 Base-LX10/BX10 defines a point-to-multipoint Ethernet passive optical network (PON). It aims to reach up to ten kilometers on singlemode fiber.
  • 1000Base-PX10/20 defines a 10km or 20km PON with a splitter capable of serving 16 locations.

These definitions come from the Ethernet in the First Mile Alliance (EFMA), one of the sponsors of the Light Reading Live! Asia/Pacific Roadshow. Other sponsors are Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) and Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA).

Last week, the Light Reading Live! Roadshow hit Beijing and Shanghai, and a one-day seminar, "Metro Ethernet: A Carrier Class," was staged in each city. More than 200 delegates, nearly all of them from Chinese carriers, attended the Beijing event, and more than 100 attended the Shanghai seminar.

Tomorrow, the show arrives here in South Korea, where it will kick off at 8:30 A.M. at the JW Marriott in Seoul. For more details, including a peek at the conference agenda, click here.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

Archives of Related Light Reading Webinars:

Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 11:11:40 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled Where does VPWS fit into this? Is it EWS?
PO 12/4/2012 | 11:11:39 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled Lovely graphics showing how these new technical solutions round out whatever someone wants to call "Ethernet". And I'm sure there's plenty of folks out there that think that because it fits in the graphic, it must be Ethernet.

Call me sceptical.

As for the new services, the term "Ethernet" is mostly a marketing word. Good luck to them if it works, but I don't see anything that makes it Ethernet.
ThurstonHowell3rd 12/4/2012 | 11:11:38 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled English Man... English!!!
ThurstonHowell3rd 12/4/2012 | 11:11:38 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled You should have signed your post "Angry Token Ring User"
cabeachboy 12/4/2012 | 11:11:36 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled EOM
WizzKid 12/4/2012 | 11:11:35 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled You Moron, anything can be called Ethernet as long as it is based on the Principals of CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection) at the lower layer, and uses the standard 14 (6D+6S+2T) bytes ethernet header at the higher layer.
hyperunner 12/4/2012 | 11:11:34 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled WizzKid said...

You Moron, anything can be called Ethernet as long as it is based on the Principals of CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection) at the lower layer, and uses the standard 14 (6D+6S+2T) bytes ethernet header at the higher layer.

Guess that rules out 10GE then, which does not use CSMA/CD :-)

..and not to mention IEEE 802.3 frame format, which does not use the 2-byte Type field you mentioned ;-)

Ethernet has proved itself to be incredibly adaptable, to the extent that I don't think there's an easy way to define what it is these days. As other posters have commented - it's a marketing term, rather than a technology definition. I don't see anything wrong with that - it's just a useful, if rather vague, label.

A quick review of Ethernet evolution...

- Early 80s, "cheapernet" allows you to build LANs without expensive, and cumbersome thick yellow cable.

- Late 80s, Twisted pair Ethernet and hubs allow you to use structured cabling and star topologies. And you can use fiber too.

- Early 90s. Ethernet jumps to 100Mbps. There are Ethernet switches now. And didn't we lose Manchester encoding at 100Mbps?

- Mid 90s. People are talking about "full duplex" Ethernet, which doesn't use CSMA/CD.

- Late 90s. We get 1Gbps Ethernet. We also get "wireless" Ethernet from 802.11.

- Early 00s. 10GE. We officially lose CSMA/CD. And word is the next speed may not be 100Gbps - which means we lose the sacred "times ten" multiplier.

- Somewhere along the way Ethernet lost it's "LAN" limitation, and became a valid "WAN" technology.

- We're even getting into OAM capabilities for Ethernet (crude, but better than nothing).

OK, so the medium is fluid. The topology is fluid. The encoding scheme is fluid. The speed is fluid. The access control is fluid. About the only thing that is still "Ethernet-like" is the frame format. Oh wait a minute...I forgot VLAN tags and jumbo frames :-)

Scott Clavenna 12/4/2012 | 11:11:22 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled Virtual Private Wire Service is a point-to-point Layer 2 transport service across an IP or MPLS core. It can be Ethernet, but is not exclusive to Ethernet, since any Layer 2 service will do, so ATM, Frame Relay, HDLC, PPP are all possibilities. This service is based on IETF pseudowires, which are established across an IP core using L2TPv3 or across an MPLS core using Martini. You can even do interworking between differnet attachment circuits (Ethernet and FR, for example) to create a nice hybrid network.

In regard to where does VPWS fit in with these Ethernet service definitions, it can be used to create both an Ethernet Wire Service and an Ethernet Relay Service, depending on which features you use (VLAN transparency, bundling, control protocol tunneling, etc.).

Scott Clavenna
JackRJ45 12/4/2012 | 11:11:20 PM
re: Future Ethernet Standards Unveiled Lets make it simple-

Shared services price per Mbs
Private services priced per mile/per Mbs

This is the easiest way to distinguish a (private line/nailed up circuit) from a Port to a shared network.

It continually amazes me how many people do not know this simple difference.

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