Ethernet services

Ciena, Cisco & Juniper Get Piece of Comcast's MetroE

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) confirmed Monday that it is using gear from Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) to power its Metro Ethernet service.

The MSO didn't break down how much it's buying from each supplier, but Light Reading Cable reported last month that the bulk of Comcast's MetroE business is going to Juniper and Cisco, with Ciena scoring a smaller piece. (See Juniper, Cisco Share Comcast's MetroE Spoils .)

Monday's announcement details the specific products Comcast is using for MetroE:

  • In the Juniper markets, Comcast is using a mix of the vendor's T Series Core Routers, MX Series Universal Edge Routers and EX Series Ethernet switches, and running them on Juniper's Junos operating system.
  • Cisco is supplying its flagship edge router, the ASR 9000, along with its IOS XR modular software operating system, claiming it will help Comcast simplify its network.
  • Ciena is throwing in its LE-311v Carrier Ethernet switching platform.

Comcast is using Metro Ethernet to help it head up-market and target mid-sized businesses (those with 20 to 500 employees) and complement an existing Docsis-based offering that serves commercial customers with fewer than 20 employees. Comcast has deployed MetroE in 20 major U.S. markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco, and is expected to have the service lit up in most of its systems by the end of 2011.

Why this matters
Comcast is now poised to apply more pressure on telco incumbents as the MSO expands its MetroE footprint and attempts to lock in more revenue per business customer.

The MSO breached the $1 billion mark in business services revenue last year and is already on pace to pull in more than $1.6 billion. However, just a sliver of that is coming by way of its budding Metro Ethernet service, which offers bandwidth ranging from 1 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s, so it's just getting started.

With more than a foot in the door at Comcast as the MSO heads up the commercial services ladder, industry sources say Ciena, Cisco and Juniper are also well positioned to fight it out as Comcast looks to migrate its legacy fiber business (Sonet and TDM technology) to the new MetroE platform.

For more
Read more about cable's and Comcast's business service ambitions: — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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