Does Carrier Ethernet’s rising tide raise all boats?
Choosing an interactive directory makes Carrier Ethernet service providers just a click away
Carrier Ethernet has experienced a great deal of growth over the years as Ethernet established itself among the leading solutions in the movement to IP and packet-based networks. This seems to be the beginning of a massive transition as service providers around the globe make the move to react to the inexhaustible demand for more bandwidth. The technology serves as an increasingly critical component for carriers today as they depend on Carrier Ethernet to provide a scalable, efficient solution to burgeoning mobile backhaul requirements, business data needs and residential applications, and provide the network capacity for next-generation technologies that consumers demand such as IPTV and mobile broadband.
According to market research firm Infonetics Research, Ethernet services and IP MPLS VPN services combined are forecast to hit $68.2 billion in 2014. The firm, which just released its biannual 2010 "Ethernet and IP MPLS VPN Services” report that tracks service provider revenue derived from wholesale and retail Ethernet services and layer 2 and layer 3 IP MPLS VPN services, attributes this growth to the increased demand for business services, mobile backhaul and Ethernet Exchange services.
However, you may be wondering, who will be able to cast a net and pull in their “unfair share” of this rapidly growing line of business?
I say the service providers that best understand and anticipate the needs of the end customers. Customers, whether they be businesses, other carriers or consumers want differentiated classes of service, flexibility to quickly grow, speedy service creation and trusted service assurance and, of course, competitive costs.
Stan Hubbard of Heavy Reading released a report late last year that showed seven selected carriers offered more than 100 different Carrier Ethernet services. The menu of services is almost endless as carriers hope to address specific needs and take advantage of their own network assets. The planners and engineers within carriers are working hard to transition their networks to Ethernet and IP so the marketers can sell a set of differentiated and profitable services.
Over the past few weeks, Joan Engebretson has written about Carrier Ethernet exchanges and wholesale Carrier Ethernet providers on Carrier Ethernet News, but I thought it might be interesting to talk about how businesses and service providers can find the right Carrier Ethernet provider.
The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) has actually created its own Global Services Directory, which provides information from MEF service provider members on the availability of Carrier Ethernet services around the world. The site offers an interactive map giving visitors easy access to information on local and global Carrier Ethernet network and business services. The information is targeted at both end-user businesses looking at bringing Ethernet services to new locations and service providers acquiring access services from other providers on a wholesale basis.
To take advantage of the service, all an end-user has to do is to do is click their way through to their specific region on a map, and the map will show specific Carrier Ethernet service providers—all members of the MEF—and the types of services available in a specific country, state, or province of your choice. It also provides contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, to get in touch with a specific provider.
A one-stop-shop, the Global Services Directory, and other sites like it, such as Network Co-Op and the U.K. and European-focused CarrierEthernetService.com, among others, will become increasingly necessary as demand for 3G and 4G services continue to expand, and service providers begin to feel the strain on their networks.
However, businesses and service providers should always remember the age-old phrase “caveat emptor,” when choosing a service finder. Make sure that the service finder only works with recognizable, top-quality, reliable service providers and always consult with a communications expert first before moving forward with any type of deal or contract.
In other words, ensure your boat is seaworthy before setting sail. Keeping with the nautical theme, I took the liberty of modifying the motto of my alma mater, the US Naval Academy, to better fit this blog. So, instead of Ex Scientia Tridens - From Knowledge, Sea power, we might say: Ex Scientia Cratis – From Knowledge, Network power!