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Expanded International Ethernet Services
The combined resources of two international IP network providers expands the availability of Carrier Ethernet services

By: John Shepler

Global telecommunications carrier GTT is moving to expand its Ethernet service footprint worldwide by acquiring Ethernet service provider PacketExchange.

What PacketExchange Offers
PacketExchange is a London based carrier with an impressive 10 Gigabit fiber optic IP backbone network that covers Europe, the United States and Asia. A good portion of this network was acquired when PacketExchange acquired MZIMA Networks in 2010. The combined resources provide private line servicesplus MPLS and VPLS networking and peering.

The Era of Carrier Ethernet is Upon Us
GTT’s acquisition of PacketExchange reinforces the idea that we’re entering the age of Carrier Ethernet. Up till now, the world’s networks have been dominated by telephone company technology for switched circuit operations. The popular T-carrier wireline services and SONET/SDH fiber optic services were all devised to be compatible with time division multiplexed voice and data. The new paradigm is packet switched networks, with Carrier Ethernet gaining prominence.

The Role of Ethernet Exchanges
You see this reinforced by the emergence of Ethernet Exchanges, such as Telx, that offer E-NNI (Ethernet Network to Network Interface). What E-NNI does is create a peering opportunity for IP network operators to exchange data and, thus, expand the reach of their networks. This opportunity speeds up the ability of Ethernet to take over the world’s telecommunications traffic without the necessity of one dominant international carrier to dictate standards.

GTT as a Major International Carrier
PacketExchange makes a nice complement to GTT which is already a global network integrator with many POPs (Points of Presence) in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America. GTT serves 80 countries in all with a wide portfolio of Private line, Ethernet, DSL broadband, point to point Wireless and managed network services. They are often the carrier of choice for companies that need to interconnect offices across international borders. MPLS network services that are particularly useful in linking multiple locations include MPLS VPN and VPLS services.

Ethernet and MPLS Complement Each Other
Ethernet and MPLS networks complement each other nicely. MPLS networks use a proprietary routing technology called label switching in place of IP routing or SONET/SDH multiplexing. Label switching encapsulates virtually any protocol and transports the packets form location to location. At the network edges, packets enter and leave the network unaltered. This allows MPLS networks to support layer 2 switched services such as Ethernet Private Line and Ethernet LAN. It’s entirely possible using Ethernet access to MPLS networks to create an international bridged LAN that includes locations worldwide.

Ethernet as the Universal Network Protocol
The power of Ethernet as a universal network protocol to support converged voice, video and data networks is only beginning to be seen. It’s a natural development, considering that corporate LANs long ago standardized on the switched Ethernet protocol. What makes more sense than to seamlessly expand those LANs into the metropolitan and long haul connections necessary to support regional, national and international business.

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