Equinix today launched the Equinix Carrier Ethernet Exchange, a service designed to make it easier for global carriers to exchange data traffic. Equinix has 24 major telecom companies participating in the new exchange, which it will roll out in five major markets - Los Angeles, New York, Silicon Valley, Chicago and London - with another 14 metro regions scheduled to be added in the next year.
Carrier Ethernet is a standard created to extend data-centric Ethernet networks to connect with telecom networks initially designed to carry voice traffic. As such, it's an important enabler of the convergence between global communications networks as the growth data traffic begins to outpace voice traffic.
But connecting carrier networks directly can be time-consuming and involves technical and business challenges. Carrier Ethernet exchanges - which effectively translate between different carrier Ethernet offerings - are seen as an important next phase, making it far easier for networks to connect across geographies.
Milestone in Key Growth Market
“This launch is an important milestone for Equinix and for the Ethernet services industry in general,” said Jarrett Appleby, CMO, Equinix. “While the Ethernet market has been growing at a breakneck pace, the full potential has yet to be realized because carriers have been limited to the geographic areas where their networks are deployed. Our offering immediately removes that fundamental barrier, enabling carriers to deliver consistent, scalable Ethernet services across multiple borders around the world simultaneously."
Equinix has been developing its Carrier Ethernet Exchange since October 2009, and says it is fully compliant with the work of the Metro Ethernet Forum, the standards body for Carrier Ethernet. It will compete with the CENX, a Carrier Ethernet exchange launched last fall by MEF founder and president Nat Chen. A third company, Neutral Tandem, also has an exhcange in development.
The differentiator for Equinix is its customer ecosystem, which includes the leading carriers and networks that already use Equinix data centers for Internet peering.
Simplifying Technical Complexities
"As well as having the potential to simplify the technical complexities in delivering Ethernet services, the Equinix Carrier Ethernet Exchange also creates a massive marketplace of potential partners," said Mark Heraghty, managing director, Virgin Media Business. "Not only will that enable us to better support our customers’ needs, but it also means that we have the flexibility and scalability needed to add or expand our overall service offerings."
"The development program for the Equinix Ethernet Exchange was comprehensive, meticulous and highly successful," said Appleby. "It speaks volumes that our collaborative development approach netted as many world-class participants prior to launch, underscoring the demand for this service and the tremendous value it will deliver to the global Ethernet community."
The Equinix Carrier Ethernet Exchange development program included 24 of the largest telecom companies in the world, including AboveNet, BroadbandONE, Easynet Global Services, euNetworks, Exponential-e, Hibernia Atlantic, RCN Metro Optical Networks, Internet Solutions, KPN International, Level 3 Communications, PacketExchange, PCCW Global, Reliance Globalcom, SSE Telecoms, TeraGate AG, Tinet and Virgin Media Business.