Ethernet: Fast, Safe, Flexible and Ready to Support Digital Transformation

by JP González
November 02, 2017

Looking in the rearview mirror, Ethernet’s improbable rise to prominence as the de-facto WAN connectivity standard seems inevitable. Born in the legendary hallows of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) –incubator to technologies we take for granted like personal computers, laser printing, graphical user interfaces and object-oriented programming—Ethernet’s flexibility and scalability helped it beat-out Token Ring and Token Bus (remember them?) as the global standard for connecting local area computer networks. As the PC market exploded, so did economies of scale for Ethernet hardware, which continued to evolve and accommodate ever-increasing speeds and complexity. Ubiquity, low manufacturing costs, support for increasingly higher speeds and the flexibility of its packet-based transmission paradigm soon positioned Ethernet as a natural method to deliver telecommunications carrier services for wide area networking.

TDM: WANosuarus infrastructure that hasn’t changed in decades

Fast, secure, flexible and cheap, Ethernet has become the telecommunications gold standard. It’s ability to evolve and keep-up with growing capacity and security demands is delivering the fatal blow to traditional time division multiplexing (TDM) technologies –T1, DS-3, OCx. Investment and innovation in these older technologies has come to a grinding halt and regulatory oversight is shifting away from broad swaths of these business data services. The confluence of these trends makes TDM a potential security Achilles heel, unable to keep-up with the latest threats. Aging, end-of-life technology, a lack of encryption and discontinued manufacturer support mean it’s really not a matter of “if” but “when” we’ll hear about an enterprise being compromised by legacy deployments. As we see it, TDM is part of the unwieldy “WANasourus” infrastructure which hasn’t changed much in decades and is no longer in alignment with the evolving needs of the cloud connected enterprise.

Windstream continues investment & leadership in nationwide Ethernet

Windstream sees Ethernet as a key strategic driver and has steadily invested in the technology. We’ve upgraded our core transport infrastructure, deployed an MEF 2.0 compliant Ethernet core, upgraded over a dozen metro fiber cores and deployed Fixed Wireless as another Ethernet access method in over forty markets, increasing reliability and making the technology accessible to a vast majority of our customers. As we look forward to continued success with Ethernet, it’s rewarding to see our efforts recognized. Our continuing climb up the Vertical Systems Group Ethernet Leaderboard, from 9th to 7th position so far this year, is further validation that our strategic vision is paying-off.

Looking forward, we will continue to invest in technologies and services that help our customers protect and optimize their networks – and for the foreseeable future, Ethernet will be a big part of that investment.