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AT&T Carrier Ethernet Perspectives

Rich Klapman, AT&T Director of Marketing for Ethernet Services, presented yesterday at the Lightreading Ethernet Expo. He provided some perspective on what AT&T is doing in Carrier Ethernet. He was one of several speakers who hit on the scarcity of fiber as a barrier to deploying Ethernet. Here are some raw notes.

  • AT&T no bids only 3% of Ethernet service requests. They have a number of tools in their bag at this point to deliver Ethernet services to businesses, including Ethernet over PDH or allowing customers to bring their own access and meet AT&T in a carrier hotel.
  • AT&T now pre-building Ethernet equipment into markets, trying to break addiction to TDM. Metrics set up within AT&T to measure progress.
  • Ethernet services are difficult to scale right now because of widely varying customer configurations. Sales, technology, protocols, protection schemes, etc. Klapman claimed to have customer quotes on his laptop over a hundred different service configurations.
  • Using SONET as the benchmark for delivery and reliability. “SOB” = “Sonet or Better”
  • Expanding Ethernet over Copper services and have standardized on 2/4/8M speeds. Using EoTDM to get ubiquity because they often don’t have the fiber or can’t get someone to license it to them (kept hearing this from big carriers).
  • T1s mostly go away in the next 10 years. (not sure I believe this)
  • Starting to see 10G Ethernet requests as companies centralize data centers. 10GE customer connections completely break the backbone.
  • Ethernet standardization is following same path as Frame Relay. Contrary to what the Metro Ethernet Forum says, Ethernet Network-Network Interfaces are at least 3 years away.

More to come.


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  1. I am sitting in a building that was built as a massive fiber network hub in 1999/2000. It is located in one of th largest, if not the largest datacenter campuses in North America. I can swing a dead cat in any direction and hit fiber. I can buy Ethernet circuits from Qwest (two ways, from Qwest and their recent acquisition, OnFiber.) I can buy Ethernet circuits from TimeWarner Telecom. I can buy Ethernet circuits from XO. I can buy Ethernet circuits from Level 3, AboveNet, Savvis, Integra (nee ELI), Mzima, and *many* more.

    I’d like to buy an Ethernet circuit from AT&T (due to some demand from my customers) but they keep quoting me OC-X circuits or goofy backhaul loops to remote AT&T POPs.

    The marketing guys say fiber scarcity is the issue, but from experience out here in the trenches it looks like AT&T doesn’t have a clue about selling Ethernet. If they *are* able to quote Ethernet the prices are 40% over market. So even when they can, it doesn’t look like they WANT to.

    Too bad I wasn’t there to provide some reality for Mr. Klapman.


    Posted by chuck goolsbee | October 16, 2007, 2:05 PM
  2. Well, in a way providing that reality here is better. Thanks for the opinion.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | October 16, 2007, 8:46 PM
  3. I’ve tried to do some research in the past by talking with folks at AT&T. Even though networking is not my strongest suit it only took a few days of further work to basically discover that the opposite of everything they said was true. I was just dumbfounded by the lack of understanding they seemed to have of their own business. It’s just a lone datapoint but it’s part of the reason I decided to exit the stock post the iPhone-induced enthusiasm. I just don’t trust them to execute.

    Posted by Kris Tuttle | October 17, 2007, 5:26 AM