Metro Ethernet is the use of Carrier Ethernet technology in metropolitan area networks (MANs). Because it is typically a collective endeavor with numerous financial contributors, Metro Ethernet offers cost-effectiveness, reliability, scalability and bandwidth management superior to most proprietary networks.
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Metro Ethernet can connect business local area networks (LANs) and individual end users to a wide area network (WAN) or to the Internet. Corporations, academic institutions and government agencies in large cities can use Metro Ethernet to connect branch campuses or offices to an intranet. A typical Metro Ethernet system has a star network or mesh network topology with individual routers or servers interconnected through cable or fiber optic media.
"Pure" Ethernet technology in the MAN environment is relatively inexpensive compared with Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) or Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) systems of similar bandwidth. However, the latter technologies can be applied to Metro Ethernet in urban areas willing to devote the necessary financial resources to the task.