Ethernet services

Ethernet Expo: KDDI, Tata Go Global

LONDON -- Ethernet Expo: Europe 2009 -- KDDI Corp. and Tata Communications Ltd. are experiencing significant growth in demand for Ethernet services and are looking for ways to take their services farther afield, according to executives from the two Asian operators who gave presentations at this year's Expo in London.

James Walker, vice president of global VPN services at Tata Communications, raised eyebrows in the audience with talk of a 500 percent leap in revenues from Ethernet services during the past year, as he outlined his company's plans for expansion.

"I'm not going to say that we're exactly betting the business on Ethernet, but we're spending more on Ethernet than on any other technology platform," Walker told the Expo attendees. He said Tata has now installed 3,000 Ethernet service switches in India. (See Tata Makes Big Bets in Asia and India's Hot for Ethernet.)

And a great deal of that spend is going into intelligent, rather than dumb, infrastructure. "I'm vehemently opposed to stupid networks," says Walker. "We have a huge variety of customers from carriers to SMEs, and there's universal demand from them for intelligence. We are making a huge investment in [intelligent network elements]."

Tata Communications currently has a presence in 30 countries, with Walker noting that new points of presence (PoPs) have been added recently in Casablanca, Morocco; Nairobi, Kenya; São Paulo, Brazil; and Vietnam.

"You have to be prepared to go where your customers go," stated Walker, and that means building networks and developing carrier-to-carrier partnerships and interconnects.

Walker, though, voiced concerns over the development of Network-to-Network Interface (NNI) capabilities, calling on the MEF to ensure that NNI standardization supports high quality levels. "We don't want just the lowest common denominator for NNIs. We don't want to develop services and then not be able to offer them [across partner networks]. We've had that problem with MPLS."

KDDI is also expanding internationally. It has been building out its Global Presence Ethernet Network (GPEN) using Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA) hardware, and has experienced 300 percent year-on-year growth in demand for its Layer 2 Ethernet services.

Having established a European presence with a PoP in London last year, and having deployed Layer 2 switches in the U.K. and Germany, KDDI is now looking to extend its reach in the region through carrier partnerships.

Stuart Warren, marketing and project planner at KDDI Europe, told Light Reading that the next target markets for KDDI are in Eastern Europe -- specifically in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Russia -- as well as in the Middle East. However, the company has so far been unable to find carrier partners in these countries at the right price.

— Catherine Haslam, Asia Editor, Light Reading

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