Carrier Ethernet

Definition of Carrier Ethernet

Carrier Ethernet is a standardized, high-speed networking technology primarily used by telecommunication companies and internet service providers (ISPs) to deliver reliable, scalable, and cost-effective connectivity solutions. It builds upon traditional Ethernet technology, improving it with advanced features such as quality of service (QoS), traffic management, and resiliency suitable for wide area networks (WANs). As a result, Carrier Ethernet enables high bandwidth and secure communication for businesses, data centers, and various other applications.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Carrier Ethernet” is: /ˈkæriər/ /ˈɛθərnɛt/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Carrier Ethernet offers high-capacity, reliable, and cost-effective connectivity solutions for businesses, enabling scalable data transmission over long distances while streamlining network management.
  2. Its flexibility and simplicity allow for seamless integration with existing networks, supporting a wide range of protocols, services, and applications.
  3. Due to its standardized nature, Carrier Ethernet provides end-to-end interconnectivity and ensures consistent performance levels across different service providers’ networks, promoting accessibility and interoperability on a global scale.

Importance of Carrier Ethernet

Carrier Ethernet is a crucial technology term because it signifies the enhancement and expansion of traditional Ethernet technology to provide a scalable, standardized, and reliable high-speed communication infrastructure for global telecommunications networks.

By extending the Ethernet capabilities beyond just a Local Area Network (LAN) and adapting it to carrier-grade applications, Carrier Ethernet facilitates telecommunication service providers to offer cost-effective, high-bandwidth services with improved quality of service, simplified management, and flexible deployment.

Moreover, as the industry demands higher levels of performance, security, and agility, Carrier Ethernet plays an essential role in facilitating the convergence and growth of modern communication systems, including mobile networks, cloud-based services, and broadband connectivity.


Carrier Ethernet is a technology that plays a crucial role in telecommunication networks worldwide by providing a scalable and cost-effective means of communication. The primary purpose of this technology is to address the increasing demand for high-speed data and information exchange in businesses, private networks, and everyday services.

This is achieved through its ability to offer higher bandwidth capacity, low latency communication, and improved service quality between geographically dispersed locations. Carrier Ethernet has become an essential component of modern communication systems, primarily due to its potential for implementing advanced services such as cloud computing, virtualization, and unified communications.

In addition to its advantages for large-scale networks, Carrier Ethernet is also useful for smaller organizations looking to enhance their connectivity and communication abilities. This technology enables service providers to offer end-users various Ethernet services with different levels of quality and performance, depending on their needs.

As a result, Carrier Ethernet has become a preferred choice for many businesses and telecommunication providers, as it allows them to extend their network reach to clients more effectively and with fewer resources. By using Carrier Ethernet, companies can stay competitive within their respective industries, enabling them to adapt to emerging trends and increasing customer demands rapidly.

Examples of Carrier Ethernet

Telecommunication Networks: Carrier Ethernet is widely used by telecommunication companies to provide connectivity services to their customers. For example, AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink use Carrier Ethernet technology to deliver high-speed Internet services, Voice over IP (VoIP), and other digital services to residential and business customers. This technology allows these companies to provide reliable and cost-effective broadband services with improved quality of service (QoS) and lower latency.

Metro Ethernet Networks: Many cities and municipalities have implemented Carrier Ethernet as a foundation for metro Ethernet networks. These networks connect businesses, government offices, hospitals, and other institutions within a metropolitan area, providing high-speed data connectivity and reducing reliance on traditional telecommunications solutions. An example of this is the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s (LADWP) Fiber Optic Enterprise Network, which uses Carrier Ethernet technology to support various city services, including traffic control systems, video surveillance, and public safety communications.

Mobile Backhaul Network: Carrier Ethernet has emerged as a popular solution for mobile backhaul networks, especially with the deployment of 4G and 5G networks. These networks provide critical connections between cell towers, base stations, and the core network infrastructure, ensuring smooth and reliable data transmission. For example, Telecom Italia (TIM) adopted Carrier Ethernet technology to upgrade its mobile backhaul network, enabling faster and more efficient data transmission to support the deployment of 5G services across Italy.

Carrier Ethernet FAQ

What is Carrier Ethernet?

Carrier Ethernet is a standardized, high-speed networking technology used by telecommunications and data communications service providers to deliver Ethernet services to businesses, residential customers, and mobile users. It offers a cost-effective and reliable solution for high-capacity, scalable, and flexible networks.

What are the key features of Carrier Ethernet?

Carrier Ethernet has several key features, such as scalability, reliability, quality of service (QoS), service management, and standardized services. These features allow service providers to offer a wide range of services and enable users to easily manage their network connections.

What are the advantages of using Carrier Ethernet?

Some of the advantages of using Carrier Ethernet include lower costs, faster deployment, increased bandwidth, simplified network management, and improved performance. With these benefits, businesses and residential customers can experience more efficient and reliable connectivity.

What are some common Carrier Ethernet services?

Common Carrier Ethernet services include point-to-point Ethernet private lines (EPL), Ethernet virtual private lines (EVPL), and Ethernet local area networks (E-LAN). These services allow for the secure transmission of data between multiple locations and the support of applications such as voice, video, and data traffic.

How does Carrier Ethernet differ from traditional Ethernet?

While traditional Ethernet is typically used for local area networks (LANs) within a single location, Carrier Ethernet extends its reach to support wide area networks (WANs) that span multiple locations. Additionally, Carrier Ethernet provides higher reliability, better performance, and more extensive service management tools compared to traditional Ethernet.

Related Technology Terms

  • Network Interface Device (NID)
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Ethernet Virtual Connection (EVC)
  • Ethernet over Multiprotocol Label Switching (EoMPLS)
  • Carrier Ethernet Exchange (CEE)

Sources for More Information


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