Ethernet services

AT&T, Verizon Expand on Ethernet

NEW YORK -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Enterprise Solutions are both planning aggressive pushes for Ethernet services, executives told attendees of Light Reading's Ethernet Expo yesterday.

AT&T is ready for a new Ethernet infrastructure and issued a request for information (RFI) to vendors six months ago, said Margaret Chiosi, director of AT&T Labs, during an afternoon keynote speech.

By the end of this year, AT&T's Ethernet services will cover North America, China, pieces of Western Europe, and spots of Asia. But the company's Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) services blanket most of the world, and AT&T wants its Ethernet coverage to be just as broad.

"This is pretty much where we're going for from an Ethernet point of view," Chiosi said, pointing to a world map that had nearly every industrialized country colored in.

Rather than build a separate Ethernet backbone, AT&T wants to keep its entire network on a single backbone -- where, incidentally, OC768 circuits will be turned on in January, Chiosi said. "We already have the equipment in certain parts of the country up and running," she said, adding that the merger with SBC is driving the traffic increase that makes OC768 so urgent. (See AT&T Readies 40-Gig Backbone.)

Verizon Business, meanwhile, announced yesterday it had extended its Ethernet Virtual Private Line services into six Asia/Pacific countries: Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. The service had already been available in 10 European countries and, of course, the U.S.

The Asia/Pacific launch uses a combination of Verizon Business's own network and lines owned by carriers in the region, said Mike Volgende, director of marketing for Verizon Business.

Verizon Business is starting off its Asia/Pacific services with a dilute variation of the Converged Packet Access technology the carrier offers elsewhere. The network in the region is mainly aggregation devices for now, with Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) switches to be deployed later "as the traffic turns up," says Alexandra Reznik, a senior manager with Verizon Business.

Officials at equipment vendor ANDA Networks Inc. said their company's gear is being used in that buildout. Anda, alongside Tellabs, had been announced in 2005 as a vendor for the Converged Packet Access technology of MCI, before that carrier got acquired by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). (See Verizon Closes MCI Buy and Verizon Unveils Business Unit.)

Delivering another of the day's keynote talks, Tom Roche, Verizon Business VP of network voice and data services, said his company intends to start offering virtual private LAN services (VPLS), a Layer 2 alternative to Layer 3 VPNs, in the first half of 2007.

Separately, Roche noted Verizon Business offers an Ethernet Packet Ring Service based on Resilient Packet Ring (RPR) technology. "This will translate into wavelength services in the not too distant future," he said.

Volgende later said Roche was referring to a way of bringing Ethernet to legacy customers situated too far from any central office with Ethernet switching gear. Direct Ethernet service wouldn't be deliverable to those customers; instead, Verizon Business would send a wavelength their way, carrying Ethernet over Sonet or DWDM.

Like most carriers, Verizon Business will be looking to increase its Ethernet services footprint. That includes a lot of the usual methods -- laying more fiber, lighting more buildings -- but could also get into other means of access. "We are, longer term, exploring wireless Ethernet," specifically WiMax, Reznik says. "We'll be looking into that in 2008."

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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