Optical Ethernet on a networking high

Updated: Mar 28 2005, 05:30am hrs
An IT manager today realizes that the current WAN networks have not kept up the pace with the ever demanding bandwidth hungry applications and services that have become common over the last five yearsnetworks are still dependent on slow and expensive lease lines in India. But, Optical Ethernet is one way that will eliminate this WAN bottleneck. It is becoming an even more critical link in delivering cost-effective and reliable services to consumer and business customers. And, the industry is increasingly realizing that the always available, global and universal telecom utility Ethernet is one of the easiest and extremely cost-effective technologies that exist at present.

For these reasons, 98% of local area network (LAN) connections are now Ethernet based. Optical Ethernet, which represents a win-win scenario for both service providers and enterprises, can be built using a number of different types of metro Ethernet transport network, including Ethernet over Fiber, Ethernet over Resilient Packet Rings (RPR), Ethernet over DWDM, and Ethernet over SDH.

Regardless of the transport network used, each of these building blocks leverages the simplicity and cost effectiveness of Ethernet to deliver feature-rich profitable services. While a few customers may be able to use a single building block to build their evolving network, the majority of network implementations require a mix of these building blocks to meet customers diverse needs.

On one hand, with the Ethernet furiously expanding into the MAN and across the WAN, service providers are looking for ways to provide connectivity services across the metro bottleneck between their enterprise customers and their backbone. And, they see a tangible result by way of reducing operational costs, improving network reliability, and interoperating with other standards-based solutions. On the other, enterprises are jumping onto this bandwagon too. They want to break the bandwidth bottleneck by exploiting the simplicity of Ethernet across the MAN and WAN.

Optical Ethernet allows organizations to expand their Ethernet LANs across the Metro backbone and obtain cost effective network connectivity to enable a set of value added services and applications such as Internet Access, IP-VPNs, LAN extensions and Voice/Video services.

When survival becomes a key issue for both service providers and enterprises, transforming their network so that they can get a clear competitive advantage is right on top of their agenda. It is in this context that a new class of services has been created. Christened as business class broadband services, these are meant for enterprises as opposed to other broadband deployments, which are aimed at residential market. And, it is also a great enabler for delivery of services like transparent LAN services for LAN extension; delivering both layer 2 and layer 3 (IP) VPNs, fast Internet access and interactive multimedia content distribution under this new banner.

Now, corporations are transforming their computing models from highly distributed environments to centralised environmentsthereby delivering information faster, evolving beyond commodity network applications, providing better access to customers and suppliers, increasing employee productivity, and improving resource utilization. Moreover, this new band of services also permits enterprises to outsource IT activities and focus on core competencies.

Now, data centers for live backups, storage and disaster recovery, storage area networks, and cable MSOs have begun to looking at increasingly deploying optical Ethernet for cost-effective, secure sharing of mission critical applications, databases and other resources.

The writer is vice-president, sales, Nortel Networks, India