• United States

MCI broadens Ethernet offerings

Jul 28, 20043 mins

* MCI’s Ethernet service runs over SONET

MCI last week launched an Ethernet service and enhanced its current Ethernet offerings with a new edge architecture.

The carrier announced U.S. Private Line Ethernet, a point-to-point service that allows users to connect to MCI’s long-haul network using high-speed Ethernet connections. It’s an Ethernet-over-SONET offering.

Previously MCI Ethernet customers were limited to setting up point-to-point connections within one metropolitan area.

MCI is also adding speed options for its Metro Private Line Ethernet service. Users can now set up dedicated connections from 10M bit/sec up to 1G bit/sec. Previously users only had three bandwidth choices: 50M bit/sec, 150M bit/sec and 600M bit/sec. These options are also still available.

The service provider plans to expand the availability of its Internet Dedicated Ethernet service to a total of 25 markets.

The service is currently available in Chicago, Dallas, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

The 20 markets MCI plans to add in September include Atlanta; Boston; Cleveland; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; Newark, N.J.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Sacramento, Calif.; Raleigh, N.C.; Salt Lake City; San Diego; Seattle; and St. Louis.

MCI’s Ethernet services include standard service-level agreements (SLA). The SLA for Internet Dedicated Ethernet guarantees 100% network availability, latency under 55 msec and delivery of at least 99.5% of packets.

The SLA for U.S. Private Line Ethernet and Metro Private Line Ethernet is the same and guarantees 100% network availability for on-net traffic and 99.8% network availability for off-net traffic. The SLA also includes a mean-time-to-repair guarantee of two hours for on-net and four hours for off-net traffic.

While not commonplace, MCI is not the first to offer SLAs with its Ethernet services. AT&T is offering standard SLAs with its dedicated Ethernet services, including its Ethernet Private Line Services and its ACCU-Ring Ethernet service. The carrier guarantees 99.999% network availability and 99.9% on-time provisioning.

MCI is targeting users in the financial healthcare, and education markets with its Ethernet services. The company expects information technology and government vertical markets to be the next big adopters.

MCI says it’s able to offer the Ethernet services and enhancements because of its new edge technology, which it calls Converged Packet Access (CPA). MCI is deploying new gear at the edge of its network to support multiple services from frame relay, IP VPN to Ethernet. While the carrier announced the new architecture this week, it will not say which vendor’s products it is using. 

It did say the technology costs less and offers more flexibility than its current Nortel gear, which it’s using to support Ethernet services.

“On average, bandwidth based on CPA will cost 10% less than bandwidth based on TDM,” says Ralph Montfort, director of Internet access products at MCI.

The new architecture allows MCI to offer its Ethernet services to more locations that may not be connected directly to the carrier’s metro fiber-optic network, Montfort says.

MCI is expected to make additional announcements regarding its CPA architecture, including which devices it’s using, in the next few months.