BT's Bross: Ethernet Will Deliver
During his keynote address at the first of this week's two Light Reading Live Ethernet events, Bross said the carrier was about to announce an upgrade to its Ethernet services portfolio.
Starting in July, BT will launch its first virtual LAN (VLAN) service, and upgrade its current Gigastream point-to-point Ethernet offering to a national service with speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s. It will also provide a more granular version of its low-end Megastream service, with access speeds as low as less than 1 Mbit/s to attract small companies.
Yet Bross told the more than 180 telecom professionals in the audience -- the vast majority of whom were service provider executives from carriers such as , , Eircom Ltd. (London: EIR), Energis plc (OTC: ENGSY), , , , and more -- that there is still some work to be done before Ethernet can be regarded as a truly carrier-class technology.
Ethernet isn't quite there yet as a technology that can achieve its potential in a multi-vendor environment. He told the audience that if you built an entire network using one vendor's equipment, then the desired level of control and management could be achieved, "but there's little chance of a carrier building a homogenous network, and even if you did, you'd then have to interoperate with other carriers that have built networks using other vendors' gear."
His main concerns are interoperability, the ability to "perform testing and diagnostics at the same level as you can on today's networks," and the ability to provide synchronous services across wide-area networks.
But Bross said Ethernet's great strengths are its resiliency, flexibility, its applicability across all areas of a telecom network, and the speed of innovation, and that it's only a matter of time before these issues will be solved. "There's a lot of innovation that we're very excited about," said the CTO.
He also said he believes that BT's 21CN network "will be the world's largest Ethernet network" once it is completed. "It will give us the opportunity to innovate, to reduce cost, reduce complexity, and offer plug-and-play services quickly and efficiently. It'll also allow us to drive greater margins from our growing ICT business."
The "Future of Carrier-Class Ethernet" event, which will be repeated in Barcelona this Thursday (June 30), also included two panel sessions on the role Ethernet will play in future enterprise and residential service offerings, as well as presentations from the event's numerous vendor and service provider sponsors, including , Siemens Communications Group, Covaro Networks Inc., Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), Hatteras Networks Inc., RAD Data Communications Ltd., and World Wide Packets Inc. ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) was also a sponsor.
The Barcelona event will feature a keynote presentation from the team behind Spain's $500 million Catalan Ethernet network rollout (see Spain Preps $500M Broadband Net).
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading