Ethernet access a hot segment at Supercomm

June 3, 2004 Chicago--Ethernet access systems, many compliant with the IEEE 802.3ah Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) standard, which is expected to be ratified this month, have been introduced by several companies in recent months, and more announcements are expected at this month's Supercomm tradeshow, reports Senior Editor Kathleen Richards.

June 3, 2004 Chicago--Ethernet access systems, many compliant with the IEEE 802.3ah Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) standard, which is expected to be ratified this month, have been introduced by several companies in recent months, and more announcements are expected at this month's Supercomm tradeshow.

Startup Covaro Networks (Richardson, TX) will launch the first products in its Etherjack product line at the Supercomm show in Chicago on June 20-24. Etherjack technology, the subject of five pending patents, enables carriers to deliver "intelligent" Ethernet services (10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet, T1, T3, OC-3/12/48) to business customers over fiber, copper, or coaxial cable. Intelligent Ethernet, according to Covaro, includes network management software supported features such as real-time service monitoring, remote loopback testing from the customer demarcation point, quality of service guarantees for voice over IP, and support for VLAN-based services. The first products, expected to debut at SuperComm, include the CC-16000 Ethernet over SONET platform, which supports generic framing procedure, and the copper-based CC-101 customer premises gateway (10Base-T/100Base-T), which acts as a demarcation point between the carrier and the customer. Other products in the series include the nVision network management system, and the cVision customer network management Web portal, which will enable real-time performance monitoring for end users.

The well-funded Covaro, which secured $25.3 million in second round funding earlier this year, and $16.7 million in its first round, from investors InterWest Partners, CenterPoint Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds and Centennial Ventures, among others. The company is initially targeting Tier-2 and Tier-3 service providers in North America, and has 10 customer lab trials underway.

Nayna Networks, Inc. (San Jose, CA) unveiled its flagship ExpressSTREAM series of products in early May. The XC12000, XC4000 and XR2000 EFM-compliant optical line terminals are already available, and the company is planning to announce some of its smaller gateway products at Supercomm.

The ExpressSTREAM platform supports up to 32 Gbit/sec throughput and 48 million packets per second of processing, performance, which enables triple play services, as well as future services such as high definition television (HDTV). Nayna's platform also supports legacy traffic (POTS) and RF video.

The company does not support coaxial cable like Covaro, but it is offering products for all three topologies included in the EFM standard, point-to-point copper, point-to-point fiber, and point-to-multipoint fiber-based passive optical networks (PONs). Nayna has customers in Korea and Japan. "Some at the high-end are looking at the tripleplay application, and some are looking at the lower applications such as routine Internet access," says Jim Connor, director of marketing, Nayna Networks.

In May, Adva Optical Networking, Inc., (Mahwah, NJ) launched its FSP 150 family of EFM-compliant Ethernet access aggregation and demarcation products that support the Metro Ethernet Forum's Ethernet Line and Ethernet LAN service definitions. The products will be shown for the first time at the Supercomm show later this month. The FSP 150 products support point-to-point, tree-and-branch, chain, or ring infrastructures. The FSP 150Mx is a multi-port Ethernet aggregation device that aggregates and differentiates traffic. The FSP 150CP is a customer premises service demarcation device. It offers advanced performance monitoring for both service providers and customers, according to Adva, above and beyond the operations, administration and maintenance outlined in the EFM standard.

Earlier this month, Amedia Networks (Holmdel, NJ) launched its QoStream Ethernet-switched optical network platform, a point-to-point fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) access system. The switched Ethernet FTTP technology was developed by Lucent Technology's Bell Labs, and licensed by Amedia in January 2004. The QoStream platform consists of a fully duplexed CS1200 core 120-Gbit/sec Ethernet switch, the AS5000 aggregation switch, which is placed within 50 km of the core switch, the PG1000 customer premises gateway, and the Director network management system. The gateway is designed to eventually support wireless services for the home such as HDTV.

The end-to-end QoStream platform can support 100 Mbits/sec per home for about 50,000 customers, according to the company. The first products are expected to become available in the third quarter of this year, after some compliance issues are fine-tuned.

Other companies such as Turin Networks are expected to showcase new Ethernet access products at Supercomm. "It's a good market to be in," says Nayna's Connor. "If you take a look at the Metro Ethernet Forum as well as Ethernet in the First Mile, the two together are making these standards happen and making the equipment compatible," he says. "And it is substantially different than older LAN style equipment, where it was pretty much used just in a business. Everybody plugged in and trusted each other, and it was basically web-browsing, email and best effort only. The public network really needs to keep the quality up. If you have a remote site, you have to be able to monitor it. You have to ensure that if you sell somebody a 10-Mbit/sec connection that you are really giving the 10 Mbits/sec--maybe the peek is higher--and you have to make sure you can guarantee that. Those type of enforcement mechanisms make EFM substantially more robust than LAN equipment, that's why we use the term carrier-class."

--KR

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