Ethernet services

2013 Leading Lights Finalists: Most Innovative Ethernet/Optical Service

The entries in this year's "Most Innovative Ethernet/Optical Service" Leading Lights category fell into two camps -- services for carrier customers and services for non-carrier customers. That the number of entries from each camp was roughly equal says a lot about how far carriers have come in offering innovative Ethernet and optical services to end users such as corporate enterprises, government organizations and universities. (See Light Reading's 2013 Leading Lights Finalists.)

Nevertheless, the wholesale services camp, where carriers cater to the needs of other carriers, continues to be a source of fresh innovation. Wholesale network operators, sometimes driven by new standards and certifications from the likes of the MEF , and sometimes driven just by the need to refine an existing model, continue to explore new ways to help their carrier customers expand the reach, efficiency, and performance of their own services.

With that in mind, here are the finalists for the Leading Lights award in the category of Most Innovative Ethernet/Optical Service.

Reliance Globalcom - Optical Wave Service
Carriers all over the world have recently become more aggressive with optical wavelength services, but Global Cloud Xchange was believed to be the first to ride a 100G wave across the Atlantic Ocean from Paris to New York. The carrier launched that 100G route back in March of this year on its FA-1 South submarine cable, which is part of more than 73,000 km of submarine network routes operated by Reliance Globalcom.

The deployment used Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN)'s GeoMesh architecture, and can support G.709-based OTN services from OTU2 (10G) to OTU4 (100G). Upgrading the FA-1 to support Optical Wave Service up to 100G will make it an appealing route to many major carrier customers looking for transatlantic capacity: Indeed, Reliance Globalcom said this specific deployment allowed it to meet new demands from one of its Tier 1 carrier customers. The service can be used to connect carrier central offices or major datacenters on the two continents.

Optical Wave Service is currently available across the US, Europe, Middle East, and Asia/Pacific with service coverage presently in New York, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Marseille, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Dubai, Muscat, Jeddah, Doha, Kuwait, and other locations. Reliance Globalcom is in the midst of several more similar upgrades including:

  • The Mumbai-to-Suez segment of its FEA submarine cable system, being upgraded with an additional 2 x 100 Gbit/s of lit capacity.
  • The FA-1 North cable between London and New York, being upgraded with an additional 4 x 100 Gbit/s of lit capacity.
  • The FNAL cable system between Hong Kong and Japan, being upgraded with an additional 3 x 100 Gbit/s of lit capacity.
  • The Hawk cable system between Egypt and France, being upgraded with an additional 2 x 100 Gbit/s of lit capacity.

    tw telecom - E-Access Service
    As markets around the US become more dense with Ethernet services competition, the emphasis for many carriers needs to be on expanding their service footprints beyond the borders of their own networks.

    tw telecom inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC)'s December 2012 announcement of E-Access, based on the Metro Ethernet Forum 33 Ethernet Access Services specification, directly addresses that need. It was the first launch of a service based on MEF 33, which was announced in 2011 as the forum's first spec targeted at the wholesale environment and later became part of the Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification program. The MEF's E-Access service description essentially addresses wholesale interconnection between carriers, and picked up where the MEF's earlier External Network-to-Network Interface standard left off, adding details to promote high quality interconnections and more competition.

    This kind of UNI-to-ENNI service is a key to enabling more carriers to reach more markets outside of their home regions via Ethernet Private Line and Ethernet Virtual Private Line services. For example, it could help an international carrier better service a multinational enterprise customer with US locations: the carrier customer would use tw telecom's E-Access to serve its own customers' US offices. tw telecom launched E-Access with at least one network operator customer on board -- Caribbean carrier Columbus Networks.

    E-Access also could be a key to giving more regional carriers within the US a competitive lift to offer Ethernet services to new customers outside of their regions. If they can interconnect with tw telecom, they can then market far more expansive services to their corporate customers.

    Global Capacity - One Hub
    This is another interconnection service that enhances the value of the wholesale carrier's One Marketplace Ethernet exchange, which was itself a 2012 Leading Lights finalist. One Hub helps carriers save money through support not only for Ethernet E-Access, but also legacy TDM mapping to Ethernet services. They can get both over a single physical Ethernet interconnection, and use that to reach into Global Capacity 's 380 markets in North America.

    One Hub's flexibility in supporting both Ethernet and TDM eliminates the need for separate TDM interconnection and the related costs that would go into supporting an interconnection with the legacy network equipment. It also reduces the complexity associated with the service delivery and network operational processes needed to support multiple network interconnections. One Hub maps all T-1 connections to Ethernet virtual LANs and delivers services back to customer networks leveraging the Ethernet NNI.

    The service is now available from five of Global Capacity's One Marketplace POPs: New York City; Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; and Los Angeles. Five more locations are on tap for One Hub: Pittsburgh; Ashburn, Va.; Minneapolis; Seattle; and San Jose.

    What do you think of this shortlist? Feel free to weigh in on the message boards below.

    The Leading Lights winners and latest Hall of Fame inductees will be revealed at the Leading Lights awards dinner, which will be held during the evening of Tuesday, October 1 at the super-cool The Out hotel in New York City. (For more details, see Leading Lights 2013.)

    That all-night rave will be followed by the Ethernet & SDN Expo, which takes place at the Javits Center, NYC, on October 2–3.

    — Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

    Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet & SDN Expo, a Light Reading Live event that takes place on October 2-3, 2013 at the Javits Center in New York City. Co-located with Interop, Light Reading's Ethernet & SDN Expo will focus on how the convergence of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 with emerging carrier software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies could change the whole telecom landscape for service providers. For more information, or to register,
    click here

  • Carol Wilson 9/13/2013 | 5:13:52 PM
    Re: Lot of good candidates Yeah, it is so much easier to quantify competition on speeds and feeds or, heavens knows, price. 
    DOShea 9/13/2013 | 4:43:23 PM
    Re: Lot of good candidates Some of the service candidates I saw that were more for enterprise and other business customers seemed to make their differentiation case primarily around service support and customer experience, which I always find to be a safe, but slippery statement carriers make when they actually find it hard to differentiate.
    Carol Wilson 9/13/2013 | 3:05:49 PM
    Re: Lot of good candidates Dan, how are service providers differentiating their Ethernet services that are mostly directly to enterprises and SMBs?

    Of course, I'm asking that in advance of posting our Leading Lights nominees for enterprise and SMB services. 
    DOShea 9/13/2013 | 11:16:50 AM
    Lot of good candidates There were a lot of good candidates this year that made for some tough choices. So many carriers are getting more aggressive with Ethernet that there are fairly similar new developments happening sometimes within days of one another. It's a good problem to have... for me, at least.
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