Metro Ethernet products promise cost savings

Brief: Covaro Networks has put four products on the market that it says will help to spread Ethernet well beyond the LAN

A US-based company lifted the lid on a range of products earlier this month that could help service providers to offer Metro Ethernet services to companies.

The four 'Etherjack' products launched by Covaro Networks will allow a telecoms firm to run Ethernet services over fibre, copper or coaxial cables, which the company says will help to take Ethernet beyond the local area network and onto the telco's own infrastructure.

"The ability to provide Ethernet services that boost profits is going to be irresistible to carriers around the world," claimed Joe Bass, chief executive of Covaro Networks.

Advocates of Metro Ethernet claim that it makes sense to use optical Ethernet to connect disparate Ethernet-based LANs together, rather than moving data onto another protocol as it moves between one LAN and another. This, they say, makes it easier for companies to connect remote networks together.

Not everyone is convinced, though. Critics have suggested that Metro Ethernet is overhyped, because telcos will need to cope with additional network management in order to make things slightly easier for their customers. They also point out that there has been limited interest in the technology from major operators.

The cheapest of the four Covaro Networks Etherjack devices, the CC101, will cost $500 (£285) and will support a bandwidth of up to one megabit per second. The most expensive, the CC16000, will cost $15,000 and support a one-gigabit-per-second connection.