Ethernet Gold OC3 Bandwidth: what to choose?

April 29, 2023 0 Comments

Is broadband Ethernet or OC3 the right choice for a network solution for your business? How would you make that decision?

If you’re talking about a network operator/service provider and assuming your links are above 1 Gbps… chances are you need both OCx/EoS and Ethernet. After all you need to interconnect with other networks. If you have links below 1 Gbps on the access or core sides of your network, you will most likely have to use OCx. Although some people tend to say that you can do whatever you want with a new network, the reality is something else.

OCx/STM-Ns are known for their reliability and predictability and still hold up pretty well in the long run. These are migrating to EoS (VCAT, LCAS, GFP) and OTN, but they won’t become “pure” Ethernet until 43G and supposedly there won’t be any difference at 100G, so Ethernet could prevail by embracing some of the reliability and compatibility factors. with OTN DWDM. There is still a long way to go before true convergence. In fact, the IEEE HSSG and ITU-T are working together to ensure that neither reinvents the other’s wheels. Perhaps, if they were successful, we would see single physical interfaces that could handle both: Ethernet for end-to-end connectivity and OTN for transport applications.

If you are thinking ahead, you may need to add OTN and EoS to your core/transport infrastructure to make it future-ready while being flexible to interconnect with other peers via OCx, or provide sub-1 services. GigE over EoS. People who claim they get “pure ethernet” from their providers may not be paying attention to the EoS add/download box that came with the service contract and are in fact receiving packets and sending OCx frames to the central office, or arrived at a nearby aggregation location via OCx/EoS and is then radioed to the customer premises (perhaps also via an internal OCx link).

Below 1 GigE rates (I think) there is no good way to deliver Ethernet directly to the client (access network). it always has to be wrapped in some kind of (unreliable) transport scheme like VDSL, SHDSL, DOCSIS,… This is (in my opinion) what keeps SONET/SDH alive. Once we all have fiber and beyond 1GigE, it won’t be a problem. I could use Ethernet/OTN all the way.

While Ethernet is becoming quite mainstream and cost-effective, many times the A and Z locations may require a decision in favor of OC3. Since SONET is readily available, it may be more cost effective (yes, it even includes the WAN module for OC3) in some locations. For the same A and Z locations, if both Ethernet and OC3 are available, I would choose Ethernet because of the ease of integration, as long as the cost is within ~65% of the OC3 circuit.

OCx has history, resiliency, and capability, and is subject to vendors squeezing every last hundred out of it as an asset given the rise of long (plus) distance Ethernet.

“Choose wisely,” says the Knight Templar in Indiana Jones and the Final Crusade…also here. Unless you are committed to a long-term contract at OCx, do not extend unless your business and application requirements indicate that you will not need the flexibility of Metro-E until the end of the extension period. Even then, negotiate big concessions and/or a free upgrade to Metro-E at the end. Since the cost competitiveness of a service is based on the amount of market share: Metro-e /10GB-e will dwarf OCx over time.

Lastly, first choose the OCx/Metro-E service based on achievable and measurable SLAs…then lock the provider to the bottom price (as you do…or…should do).

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