ComNet: Extreme delivers Ethernet in the last mile

Extreme Networks at the ComNet trade show released more details about new WAN modules for its Alpine metro-area network service provisioning switch.

Extreme demonstrated T-1 and very-high bit rate DSL (VDSL) modules for the Alpine, which will allow carriers or enterprises to run Ethernet over legacy telco circuits and phone wiring. This falls in line with Extreme's strategy for using Ethernet as a ubiquitous transport medium, from the LAN, to long-haul WAN transport and first-mile Internet access of businesses and homes.

The WM-4T1 module has four 1.5M bit/sec T-1 ports and four 10/100M bit/sec ports. Up to 32 T-1 ports can be installed in an Alpine chassis using the new modules. T-1 ports on the modules can be trunked together to provide higher-speed links.

The FM-8Vi module has eight Ethernet-based 10M bit/sec VDSL ports, with support for up to 64 VDSL ports in an Alpine chassis. Extreme will also provide its own VDSL modems for terminating connections at VDSL connection end-points.

The technology used to deliver Ethernet over T-1 and VDSL links was acquired when Extreme bought last-mile technology start-up Optranet for two million shares of Extreme stock in January. Optranet had developed technology based on an emerging IEEE standard for last-mile Ethernet, called 802.3ah, which is in the early stages of standardization approval.

The advantage that Ethernet in the first mile provides enterprises is the ability to keep Ethernet as a unifying medium throughout their LANs and WANs, says Gordon Stitt, Extreme's CEO. By using Ethernet over a WAN link, businesses can use Layer 2 Ethernet technologies, such as 802.1p for quality of service and Virtual LANs for logical network segmentation, Stitt says.

Carriers can use the Alpine outfitted with VDSL modules as customer premise equipment for provisioning office buildings and residences with high-speed network access over legacy, four-wire telephone cabling, Stitt adds.

The T-1 Ethernet module will cost $6,000, and the VDSL Ethernet module will be priced at $7,000. Both modules will be available in the first half of this year. A DS-3 Ethernet module for the Alpine is expected in the second half of this year.

Extreme Networks: www.extremenetworks.com

This story, "ComNet: Extreme delivers Ethernet in the last mile" was originally published by Network World.

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