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What are the advantages of Ethernet in an access network?

Telecom networking expert Ivan Pepelnjak only sees one advantage to using Ethernet technology in access networks. Learn what it is, plus three tips for managing per-user bandwidth.

What are the advantages of Ethernet in an access network? Are we getting lower equipment costs? Better efficiency/simplicity? What about bandwidth management?

The sole advantage of Carrier Ethernet is its low price-to-bandwidth ratio. Ethernet is a ubiquitous technology, and its widespread acceptance and simplicity have made Ethernet-supporting silicon relatively cheap compared to any other networking technology.

You can manage per-user bandwidth in three different ways:


  • By configuring rate-limiting on the switch's physical port to which the end-user is connected;
  • If you use PPPoE for user access in a Carrier Ethernet environment, you can perform per-user rate-limiting on the broadband remote access server (BRAS);
  • The most scalable solution is undoubtedly a dedicated traffic management device, such as Cisco's Service Control Engine (SCE).

You can learn more by reading this workshop on service provider network market trends.

This was last published in September 2010

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