Carrier Ethernet access technology choices simplified by online equipment directories
In a previous post, Carrier Ethernet News discussed the expanding Carrier Ethernet market and how a variety of interactive guides such as the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) Global Services Directory, among others, help business IT folks navigate a shifting market terrain and find Carrier Ethernet service providers around the world.
While helpful to carriers looking to expand, these guides also highlight the fact that most service providers have a pretty limited coverage area, and that no single operator delivers services in every region. In some cases, a provider might initially appear to offer service in a specific area, but upon closer examination, not all potential building locations in that area are included in their offering. In an effort to fill these gaps, Carrier Ethernet service providers are exploring ways to offer more ubiquitous coverage.
Ideally, a service provider’s first choice for an Ethernet connection to a business location is to use their own fiber optic network. But because their fiber doesn’t reach every business location, service providers typically use one or more alternative access technologies to extend coverage to “off-net” sites. Options include leased SONET/SDH, T1/E1 and DS3 circuits, packet microwave, voice grade copper, etc. Each of these requires specialized Carrier Ethernet gear at each end of the connection.
Deciding on the right technology depends on a number of factors, including the availability of the leased circuits or copper pairs and physical topology of the connection, among others. Once the access technology has been selected, identifying equipment suppliers can be a challenge for a service provider just beginning their search. As luck would have it, no single vendor can supply gear for all of the options. Today, service providers are looking to online guides and tools for detailed information on technology equipment vendors and their various access technologies.
To help simplify the research process, the MEF has implemented a web-based vendor directory to provide a comprehensive overview of equipment vendors and their respective technologies.
The easy-to-understand table presents the MEF member companies and indicates if they offer solutions to transport and deliver Carrier Ethernet services across various access technologies. The tool assists service providers, media and analysts in searching for the appropriate technology suppliers, and allows visitors to dynamically sort based on technology and to export the content to a spreadsheet.
While many technology analyst firms offer similar vendor breakdowns in their reports, those reports can often cost thousands of dollars. Today, there are few trusted, free tools out there like the MEF vendor directory that offer a no-cost approach for a provider to start researching Carrier Ethernet equipment vendors.
Of course, as service providers delve into researching the myriad of equipment alternatives, other factors become crucial to selecting the appropriate vendors. In addition to matching their access technology needs, service providers should also look for vendors that have demonstrated leadership and innovation in order to ensure a constructive partnership.