Ethernet breaks free of the office

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has approved a set of global industry standards for Ethernet that will extend its role to carrier networks.

The standards outline a way for Ethernet – a widely used local area network (LAN) – to link any number of endpoints in a wide area network (WAN), or simply be used as a service delivery mechanism.

The ability to offer Ethernet services means that carriers will be able to offer customers a much simpler and lower cost interface.

It will also allow users to specify exactly how much bandwidth they want between the 10Mbit/sec and 1Gbit/sec range currently offered.

The work according to Peter Wery, chairman of the ITU Study Group responsible, is driven by common sense, “Ethernet is the access interface of choice. 95% of LAN infrastructure is based on Ethernet. It’s quite simply the most logical next step to extend its reach beyond the enterprise.”

Wery adds, “This new set of Recommendations describes Ethernet in a way that allows it to be deployed in a carrier network, over ATM, MPLS, SDH etc. It’s important because it provides end-users, from small and medium sized enterprises upwards, and service providers with a simple, cost-effective and yet robust and scaleable solution. This is exactly what the market needs.”

The Recommendations (ITU-T G.8010/Y.1306, G.8011/Y.1307, G.8012/Y.1308, G.8012.1/Y.1308.1, G.8021/Y.1341) allow enterprises to exist on one Ethernet based LAN across a number of locations without the need to interface with different technology – Frame Relay or ATM for example – between sites.

<b>Specifications at a glance</b>

ITU-T G.8021/Y.1341 – This Recommendation specifies both the functional components and the methodology that should be used in order to specify Ethernet transport network functionality of network elements; it does not specify individual Ethernet transport network equipment as such.

ITU-T G.8011/Y.1307 – This document describes a framework for network-oriented characteristics of Ethernet services.

ITU-T G.8012/Y.1308 – This Recommendation specifies the Ethernet UNI and the Ethernet over Transport NNI. The detailed requirements are specified in a number of ITU-T Recommendations, IEEE Standards and IETF RFC.

ITU-T G.8012.1/Y.1308.1 – This Recommendation defines the transport architecture for carrying Ethernet characteristic information over dedicated-bandwidth, point-to-point connections, provided by SDH, ATM, PDH, MPLS, or OTN server layer networks.This type of service is referred to as Ethernet Private Line (EPL) service.

ITU-T G.8010/Y.1306 – This Recommendation was consented in October 2003 and is the first in the series of Ethernet and Ethernet over Transport related Recommendations. It describes the functional architecture of Ethernet networks using the modelling methodology described in ITU-T Recommendation G.805 and G.809.