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Carrier Ethernet and IP VPNs: The CIO Perspective

September 08, 2011
By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

Today, many CIOs are weighing the decision to transition to Carrier Ethernet – a faster, more streamlined transport technology service that can help businesses be more efficient and gain greater control over their communications.

In its three-part “CIO Perspective” report, RAD Data Communications (News - Alert) explains the difference between Carrier Ethernet and IP VPNs, exploring when is the ideal scenario to use one solution over another. For the past few weeks, TMCnet has reported on RAD’s demonstration which outlines several benefits of Carrier Ethernet for CIOs, and this week TMCnet wraps up by highlighting the third part in the “CIO Perspective” report.

Carrier Ethernet is a ubiquitous, standardized service that can be delivered not only over traditional (native) Ethernet-based networks but also over other transport technologies, such as native Ethernet sources, MPLS-based Layer 2 VPNs, IEEE (News - Alert) (802.1ad Provider Bridges and Ethernet over SONET.

Layer 2 (L2) Ethernet and Layer 3 (L3) IP/MPLS VPNs offer different benefits for different needs, with varying cost, scalability and control benefits.

Ethernet VPNs are ideal for high throughput typically required at large branches or data centers, offering highly distributed installations at a very large number of sites; low to medium bandwidth rates; and is deal for remote access.

However, enterprises comfortable with self-managing their IP address space and routing tables will likely prefer Layer 2 Ethernet VPNs; businesses without in-house knowledge of IP switching fundamentals, prefer turnkey VPNs, RAD Data’s CIO report points out.

L2 and L3 services are complementary for different customer needs. Key decision factors are cost, scalability and level of control desired by the enterprise. According to RAD Data experts, there is a growing trend of integrating Ethernet and IP/MPLS VPN features for the same customer.

Last week, TMCnet outlined what kind of service levels and SLAs CIOs should expect, such as specific definitions of service levels and guarantees for key performance indicators.

A business-grade SLA for Carrier Ethernet services will typically include the following: connection rates; class of service (CoS) levels definition and traffic priority settings; bandwidth commitments per CoS; Quality of Service (QoS) KPI (Key Performance Indicators) guarantees; monitoring and reporting; service and support hours, response and repair times; restrictions; and credits/SLA violation remedies.

Knowledge of the available options can lead to significant cost reductions in communications, and help CIOs across industries fulfill their agendas. For more information, check out part one and part two of our three-part series on RAD Data’s report, “Carrier Ethernet: The CIO Perspective.”

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TMCnet, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin
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