Metro Fiber Ethernet

Metro Ethernet

What is Metro Ethernet?

Metro Ethernet, or "Metro-E" for short, is a high capacity broadband service offered to businesses around the world using a fiber optic cable for transit between the carrier network and the end-user. The word "metro" refers to the fact that the fiber optic run spans from one side of the city to another, and "Ethernet" refers to the type of IP handoff involved at each end of the connection. Unlike copper-based TDM services that are available just about everywhere, Metro-E is limited only to buildings in which fiber has been connected by a commercial internet service provider


What is the difference between Ethernet over Copper and Metro Ethernet?

The main difference between these two broadband delivery methods is the physical connection between the end-user and the carrier backbone. Both technologies employ Ethernet protocol, but the connections are what makes all of the difference.

The the EoC scenario, the carrier transmits the signal from it's backbone network to a LEC Central Office nearest the end-user. From there the signal rides over the LEC's copper pairs to the end-user's building, and from there into the carrier's router, and into the customer's LAN switch. In the Metro Ethernet scenario, the packets start in the carrier's backbone network (or from the data center where the end-user's private/public cloud is located) and run directly to end-user's building... directly. Metro-E is a direct as it gets.


Telarus was able to find a carrier that paid for a full build-out at no cost to my company and now we're enjoying our 250 MB fiber connection.

-Stephen Eades, REF Capital, LLP

What should I look for when purchasing Metro Ethernet services?

After helping clients find Metro Ethernet services for over 10 years, we've learned a few things. Here are the highlights:

  • Upfront Fees - Unless your building is already lit, there is going to be some expense to build fiber into your building. The real question is: who is going to eat it? The answer: it depends. If you will commit to a higher speed (read: higher monthly spend), and a 3-year + term commitment, the amount a carrier is willing to swallow goes up. If you are looking for a 10MB connection on a 1-year term agreement, odds are the carrier is going to pass all of the construction costs on to you. But do not fear, if you can pool a group of companies in your building together, the carrier will see more revenue per month coming from your building and that could help justify a free build for you.

  • Cross-Connection Fees - even if there is already fiber in a building, like data centers, a carrier can (and probably will) still charge you to plug-in to their network from your network. These fees typically aren't very much, but don't be shocked if you come across them.

  • Term Commitments - every Metro Ethernet provider will ask you to commit to a 1, 2, 3, or even 5 year contract. There are some excellent discounts (on the order of 15-20% off) for you if sign longer term agreements. Second, customers who sign longer commitments are more likely to see the carrier swallow the entire construction cost (if construction is required).

  • Upgrade-ability - the great thing about Metro Ethernet is that you can change (up or down) Expect to pay more for additional bandwidth, which can be upgraded in less than 24 hours from your request. Some carriers will let you 'burst' for a specified time and only charge you for the time your burst, keeping your bill nice and low.

  • Installation - the Achilles heal of fiber is that construction can take a LONG time. Right-of-Entry permits, City permits, and construction crew schedules all have to allign for you to get your fiber, assuming the building you are in is "dark".


Important Considerations

The other main difference between EoC and Metro-E is the bandwidth capacity. Electrons are used to communicate information over the copper conduit, and when electrons move down a wire to create a current, they create consequently a magnetic field. Simply put, magnetic fields act like a un-greased wheel on a car, creating a sort of electronic friction that slowly degrades the signal each foot traveled down the wire. Fiber, the transport media in Metro-Ethernet, is a tube of glass - surrounded by a dielectric coating, that conducts light, as in photons. Light, which does NOT generate a magnetic field, can be transmitted in a strand of fiber almost an unlimited distance at close to the speed of light - which we know is very fast. The primary limitation on fiber data transmission is the pace at which the physical switches and routers can process the information. Today's best hardware, coupled with modern data compression techniques, allow for a transmission rate of 40 Gigabytes per second. Within the next five years it is expected that 100 Gig of capacity will be available through the fiber already in the ground. THAT is fast!

"So, why doesn't everyone just use fiber-based Metro Ethernet?" you ask. There is little question that Fiber optic transmission is important to wide area network architecture. Several businesses have already made the decision (and investment) to deploy fiber in their private WAN networks. However, total "fiber miles" in the United States is still quite a bit lower than "copper miles". This trend will continue until carriers and Cable companies invest billions of dollars to build up their fiber assets to reach the point of ubiquity with the copper network.


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Metro Ethernet Suppliers

Comcast Business Class, the largest cable operator and third-largest telephone company in America, provides broadband internet (Coax and Metro Ethernet), telephone service (POTS and PRI), and cable te...
CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States. The company provides broadband, voice and wireless services to businesses across the country. In addition, the compan...
Time Warner Cable has an established national presence in 31 metro markets across the country. Their business services include high speed Internet access, reliable voice solutions, and fiber Ethernet ...
AireSpring offers next-generation business class voice, data, and integrated products. T1, DS3, local, long distance, SIP trunking, and integrated voice and data products.
Spectrum Business is the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States, providing a full range of enterprise fiber and coax solutions for businesses large and small. These services include Busin...
XO is a facilities-based CLEC that operates a nationwide multi-10 Gigabit Tier 1 network and owns significant fiber optic network assets, including an 18,000 route-mile inter-city network and more tha...
Granite is a privately-held, debt free, $1Billion + in revenues, single source provider of business telecommunications across the United States and Canada. Granite is among the leading corporate commu...
Zayo provides lit and dark fiber bandwidth infrastructure solutions and carrier-neutral colocation. Our bandwidth infrastructure solutions are provided over our regional and metro fiber networks in ma...
EarthLink Business is a facilities-based telecommunications provider with more than 28,000 fiber miles. EarthLink Business specializes in a wide variety of products, including MPLS, Ethernet, Wireles...
Level 3 Communications is an international communications company headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado. The company operates one of the world's largest communications and Internet backbones over an I...
Vocal IP Networx (VIP) is a managed services firm committed to providing clients with innovative technology and communications solutions that best fulfill their business objectives and corporate strat...
TPX (formerly TelePacific) is one of the largest CLEC providing integrated voice and data telecommunications services to the small and medium-sized business ("SMB") customer segment in California and ...
Electric Lightwave is one of the largest facilities-based providers of communication and networking services in the western United States. We connect businesses of all sizes with advanced technology s...
Lightower Fiber Networks is the premier provider of all-fiber, high-performance networking solutions, delivered over our own network, enabling award-winning customer support and service reliability. L...
YipTel is a nationwide leader in business communication solutions who deploys the most secure and reliable technologies that dramatically impact internal and external relationships. Having installed ...
Bright House Networks is the sixth largest owner and operator of cable systems in the United States, and the second largest in Florida, with two of the top 20 DMAs. Its technologically advanced system...
Global Provider of Managed WAN, Voice, Security & Monitoring Solutions
Your east coast solution for quality internet, voice, data, and cloud services. Aggressive pricing on bandwidth and build confirmations within 24 hours.
ACC Business is a specialized brand from AT&T that offers a suite of essential data and voice services backed by the superior quality of the AT&T Global Network - one of the most highly acclaimed netw...
Windstream Communications is a facilities-based CLEC (and ILEC) that delivers advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company als...
USA Digital Communications specializes in voice and data for high volume termination, toll free, conferencing and FoIP clients. USAD voice solutions include TDM and VoIP Termination, Toll Free, Local ...
Suddenlink offers competitively priced business phone packages to enterprise-level connectivity, cable's advanced digital networks represent a welcome choice in business telecommunications. And becaus...
Powernet is a premier provider of voice, data, SIP, and managed services that are supported by a consistently expanding footprint, strong network, and dedicated support teams.
Optimum, a division of Cablevision Systems Corporation who are the nation's 5th largest cable operator, offers a full suite of premier business communications services that include Optimum TV digital...
Nitel is a facilities-based provider of reliable, secure telecommunications network services, including MPLS, Ethernet, SIP trunking, dedicated Internet access and private line. Nitel's nationwide ne...
Cologix provides secure and scalable data center colocation and interconnectivity. Their local service helps make the transition to a local colocation center easy, safe and affordable. You will alway...
NetWolves is a global telecommunications and internet Managed Network Provider. Their solutions aggregate multi-carrier and multi-vendor networking sources into a single network, single invoice and si...
FiberLight is an industry-leader in high performance fiber optic networks for enterprise, government and carrier customers.
Lightpath, a division of Cablevision Systems Corporation, is an industry leader in providing advanced Ethernet-based data, Internet, voice, video transport solutions and managed services to businesses...
GTT is a global network integrator providing a broad portfolio of Wide-Area Network (WAN), Dedicated Internet Access and mobility services. GTT combines multiple networks and technologies such as tra...
CentraCom is a proven provider of enterprise-grade networking, communications and connectivity services that address a wide variety of telecommunications technologies. Headquartered in Fairview, Utah,...
Telia Carrier owns and operates one of the world’s most extensive internet backbones, with over 68,000Km of fiber assets.
Broadview Networks provides advanced communications services and support for businesses of all sizes nationwide and is an industry leader in cloud-based phone services.
Alpheus is one of the leading providers of high bandwidth transport, data center, and disaster recovery solutions, providing services in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi...



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