Managed Metro Ethernet Services
Business Advantages for the Enterprise
by Cisco Systems
Published 2005; Posted November 2006
Ethernet has become the preferred transport for advanced services such as IP telephony, video streaming, medical imaging, and data storage. Factors contributing to its popularity are low cost, reliability, ease of adding bandwidth in small increments, and interoperability with traditional broadband access technologies used over the WAN. In addition, because Ethernet is a mature technology, most enterprises already have people on staff with Ethernet management skills, avoiding the need for training or new hiring. Companies with Ethernet LANs have begun extending their use of Ethernet to the metropolitan or wider area so that remote offices can reliably access applications and data on the headquarters LAN. Compared to traditional access methods such as Frame Relay, ATM, or time-division multiplexing (TDM), Metro Ethernet is less expensive and gives companies a greater ability to monitor and control their transport, much as they do for LANs.
Companies that decide to extend Ethernet from the LAN across a metropolitan or wider area face an important decision: whether to manage the MAN with in-house resources or out-task management to a managed service provider. For most companies, out-tasking is more cost-effective. While a simple Ethernet LAN is a predictable, controlled environment that in-house IT professionals can readily support, an Ethernet MAN is more complex and requires skills and resources that many companies do not have in-house. Companies that out-task Metro Ethernet service management to a service provider actually gain more control over their core business because they relieve IT resources from routine management tasks. Other benefits of out-tasking to a managed service provider include reduced capital and operational expense and improved service availability, network security, and QoS. Furthermore, companies can more easily scale their networks with changing business needs because managed service providers offer bandwidth in small increments from 1 Mbps to 1 Gbps.
This white paper summarizes the advantages of Metro Ethernet for enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and explains the advantages of out-tasking to a managed service provider. The paper concludes with case studies of companies that currently take advantage of a managed Metro Ethernet service from a member of the Cisco® Powered Network Program.
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