Ethernet tipped as local loop saviour

Ethernet could answer many of the questions about the 'last mile' of voice and data access, says Peter Linder.

Ethernet could answer many of the questions about the "last mile" of voice and data access, says Peter Linder.

Most of the time, Linder is Ericsson’s access networks director for the Americas, but for a week or so each month he becomes the company’s ethernet evangelist. He dons the cap of marketing vice-president for the Ethernet in the First Mile Alliance, an industry group dedicated to promoting ethernet in the wide-area and metropolitan-area network space.

Linder, who visited New Zealand last week, says ethernet in the first mile (EFM), an emerging IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard, has the potential to greatly reduce data transmission costs by allowing data, voice and video to be transmitted from one end of the network to the other in ethernet format, without costly changes to and from ATM, SDH and other formats along the way, as usually happens today.

“Ethernet is the technology that allows you to drive down the cost of fibre access,” Linder says. “The three main potential applications of EFM are for business, improved DSL access for residential customers and for fibre access to multi-unit and multi-tenant buildings.”

The emerging EFM standard, IEEE 802.3ah, is being developed by an IEEE task force and is due to be incorporated as a full standard next year.

Ethernet is already the dominant LAN technology. The IEEE and EFM Alliance plan to make it the standard way for data, voice and video to be transmitted over the first mile, last mile, local loop -- whatever that distance between the network operator’s equipment and the consumer is called, Linder says.

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