Ethernet services

AT&T: Ethernet Is It

NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo Americas 2009 -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is moving as quickly as it can to push Ethernet into every part of its network, including the wireless portion that is currently struggling to keep up with the bandwidth demands of smartphones, Margaret Chiosi, executive director of Optics & Ethernet Service Development for AT&T Labs , said here today.

"Ethernet is it; it has won Layer 2," Chiosi said, after reciting a list of networking types that once vied for that position. "We are trying to get it out the door as soon as possible. Our DSLAMs are going Ethernet; the U-verse backbone is IP over Ethernet. On the wireless side, we are having capacity problems, but besides migrating to LTE, Ethernet access for backhaul is it. The challenge is how to get it out quickly."

All of that is in addition to the Ethernet wide area network and metro area network services that AT&T uses and sells, Chiosi said. "Our routers have Ethernet, and Ethernet is the interface to the hosting centers as we get into cloud computing."

The challenge now is to make Ethernet services "available at more locations with more customer choices," Chiosi said. "Ethernet is recession-proof."

While AT&T's vendors might have been concerned that an economic downturn would slow Ethernet sales, AT&T customers were actually asking for more of the technology, Chiosi said.

"Their view was that they had to get Ethernet out even faster, because this is the technology to contain your costs and ride that bandwidth wave -- getting more bandwidth for less" with application flexibility, scalability, and Service Level Agreements, she said. "Our goal as we try to meet all these demands is to expand the choices we offer our customers."

Chiosi also called on vendors to help AT&T address the challenge of exponential growth in bandwidth demands, while remembering that cost cannot also be exponential. "We are putting in an infrastructure that is going to be 100 Gigabit-capable, and to do that, we are squeezing as much as we can out of fiber that is in place," she said.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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