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What is Carrier Ethernet

A New Ethernet ?


I was recently working with Cisco ASR9000s and when looking at the different line card options I came across the phrase "Carrier Ethernet", I didn't know if I had missed the mail shot telling me that the Ethernet Standard had changed.

From Cisco's ASR 9000 Series Ethernet Line Card data sheet "The Cisco ASR 9000 Series Line Cards together with the Cisco ASR 9000 Series platforms are designed to provide the fundamental infrastructure for scalable CarrierEthernet and IP/MPLS networks"

So what is CarrierEthernet? In its most simplistic form it is the ability to emulate  Ethernet services across the WAN. It makes more sense if instead of reading CarrierEthernet read Carrier Ethernet Services.

CarrierEthernet

 

  • E-Line = Point to Point

  • E-LAN = Multipoint

  • ETree = Point to Multipoint


These topology definitions alone do not cover what Carrier Ethernet is; Carrier Ethernet include standards and SLAs that are required in essence so you can compare offerings from different Service Providers.

The Metro Ethernet Forum is the place where all this was defined (Carrier Ethernet Forum) so you might want to visit there for the detail.

 

When it comes to Cisco technology, when you are deploying Carrier Ethernet service in your core you typically will be using the following keyword would be useful on any google search:

  • VPLS

  • Bridge-group

  • Bridge domain

  • vfi

  • xconnect

  • MPLS

  • VRF

  • EoMPLS


 

Summary


I had wondered what Carrier Ethernet was and what it would actually mean to me when it came to configurations. The configuration is not that scary at the basic level, with a few commands you can get the technology to work, the scary bit is meeting all the other requirement defined by the Carrier Ethernet Forum.

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