Stumbling To A Bright
Future"> The MEFs Klessig, however, said that all of Gig-Es inherent weaknesses can be - and are being - overcome by innovative engineers and standards bodies. The MEF is working to erase doubts about Gig-E services in the metro area. For example, Gig-E doesnt have to connect end-to-end for customers to take advantage of its savings and its ability to deliver premium services, said Klessig, who is also Telseons vice president for product development.And skeptics are wrong if they envision metro Gig-E as a spaghetti mesh connecting every switch to every other switch, proponents say. "We call it richly connected, " Klessig said. Every switch has at least two other connections to the rest of the network, but not to every switch. In Dallas, for example, Telseon uses 12 fiber pairs for its physical ring. It then breaks into point-to-point rings closer to the end user. Formed in June, the MEF now has 50 members, including most, but not all, of the biggest players in components (Intel, Texas Instruments, etc.), systems (Cisco, Extreme, Foundry, Lucent, Nortel Networks, ONI Systems, Riverstone, etc.) and carrier traffic (BellSouth, SBC Communications, Telseon, Yipes, etc.). "There are enough major players from every segment to be tantamount to critical mass," Klessig said. Ron Young, who co-founded Yipes and is president of the MEF, is sanguine about Gig-Es future. "Chief information officers need to recognize that help is on the way," Young said. "That huge scalable Ethernet that they love so much inside is going to be their business-to-business connection outside the building." The consensus: Gig-E will stumble toward a bright future. "Im a little skeptical when vendors talk about near-term opportunities of voice over this infrastructure," IDCs Perrin said. But long-term, he said, its inevitable that telecommunications will move toward Gig-E and beyond. Qwests Capurro said Gig-Es great attraction is that CIOs dont have to reserve bandwidth before they know what the month is going to look like. Theyll be able to buy a part of a circuit for the typical months activities, then buy a voice-over-IP offering, manage call services on demand and arrange for videoconference calls with various customers on the fly. "It allows us to bring up virtual networks for events and bring them right down again," he said. Like much of Gig-E, though, Capurro said, its not quite available - yet. "Were still trying to pluck away at what the dream is and what services are possible," he said.
Telseon uses Gig-E to connect to its service provider customers at carrier hotels in metro areas. The service providers, in turn, may use copper wire to reach the last mile to their enterprise customers. Their equipment at the carrier hotels can still deliver enhanced Ethernet services to the end user, even if its trickling at 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps.