Definition

Carrier Ethernet

Carrier Ethernet is the use of high-bandwidth Ethernet technology for Internet access and for communication among business, academic and government local area networks (LANs). Carrier Ethernet can be deployed in three ways:

  • Conventional or "pure" Ethernet
  • Ethernet over Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH)
  • Ethernet over Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)

Conventional Ethernet is the least expensive type of system but it can be difficult to modify or expand. Ethernet over SDH can be an ideal solution in regions already having an SDH infrastructure. However, most SDH-based systems are comparatively inflexible and may not offer the desired level of bandwidth management when network communications volume fluctuates rapidly and dramatically. Ethernet over MPLS offers superior scalability and bandwidth management but is the most expensive technology of the three.

Carrier Ethernet circumvents bandwidth bottlenecks that can occur when a large number of small networks are connected to a single larger network. Carrier Ethernet has minimal configuration requirements and can accommodate individual home computers as well as proprietary networks of all sizes. Most major network hardware vendors offer Carrier Ethernet equipment.

The use of Carrier Ethernet technology within a metropolitan area network (MAN) is known as Metro Ethernet.

 

Getting started with a carrier ethernet
To explore how carrier ethernet is used in the enterprise, here is an additional resource:
Carrier Ethernet essentials: Learn more about delivering Ethernet as a service and gain an understanding of the key issues in Ethernet backbone deployments.

This was last updated in August 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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