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Ethernet services

Ethernet Europe: Equinix Opens Ethernet Exchange Doors

Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) says it has 24 customers for its Carrier Ethernet Exchange as it officially opens the service for business today.

The company is announcing the news at Ethernet Europe, the Light Reading event taking place today and tomorrow in London.

So far, Equinix can offer its exchange in five of the 19 markets where it's got Internet exchanges. The other 14 will be included in the Carrier Ethernet Exchange by the end of the year, says Craig Waldrop, senior product manager for Equinix.

Yes, you read about Equinix announcing the exchange last year, creating an Ethernet analogue to its Internet exchange hosting. (See Equinix Offers Global Ethernet Peering .) But it turns out the company was just doing the hip thing and keeping the service in beta while it worked out the details.

For example, Equinix was trying to learn more about how carriers would want to interact with one another. "When we have it in a live mode, you'll see more interaction than you would think," due to the "amount of information we're going to be supplying to each one of them about their services," Waldrop says.

Equinix bills carriers for a physical connection into the Carrier Ethernet Exchange and for interconnection between their services. Put another way, its products equate to a port on a switch/router and the logical connection to some other customer's port.

At first, carriers will go through Equinix for most functions: learn which other carrier services are available, qualify them, and set up a connection. Equinix is working on a Web portal to let the carriers do some of that work on their own, Waldrop says.

Late last week, Equinix signed its 24th carrier to be part of the service. The company has announced a handful of its Ethernet exchange customers during the past several months, including AboveNet Inc. (NYSE: ABVT), PacketExchange Ltd. , and PCCW Global. (See Equinix Adds to Ethernet Exchange and Equinix Adds More to Ethernet Exchange.)

CENX Inc. , the startup that's going to be competing with Equinix, has a heavy hitter of its own in its only announced customer, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). (See Verizon Boosts Biz With CENX Connection and Ethernet Gets a CENX View.)

Ethernet peering represents the next level of expansion for Carrier Ethernet services. By transporting services on one another's networks, carriers will be able to offer services to more places, overcoming the limited reach that was a handicap of early Ethernet services offerings.

Carriers have been able to connect to each other's networks, but without a standard network-to-network interface (NNI), the process had to be done from scratch repeatedly. The MEF ratified an Ethernet NNI in February. (See MEF Ratifies ENNI Spec.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading


Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet Europe 2010, Light Reading's tenth Ethernet event, designed to meet the information needs of service providers and enterprises that are working out what next-generation services and applications to deploy, and what infrastructures will help them do this in the most cost-effective and productive manner. To be staged in London, April 12 & 13, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.


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