ENNI promises painless Ethernet connection to carriers

If you lease capacity to extend your network across carrier facilities and don't want to lose visibility and control, the new Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) External Network to Network Interface (ENNI) standard might ease your mind.

ENNI provides an industry standard way to quickly and seamlessly connect enterprise networks with carrier Ethernet facilities, ensuring faster rollout and advanced visibility across virtualized network connections.

BACKGROUND: Metro Ethernet Forum celebrates 10 years of key network accomplishments

Enterprises faced with the challenge of supporting a global workforce and the need to provide access to an expansive library of online applications and media rich content, require network controls they grew accustomed to with local area networks. ENNI provides this visibility and control over service performance, and helps customers build and manage networks for a "24x7x365" economy.

The challenge is that no single network has ubiquitous coverage. Service providers seek out partners to ensure global service coverage and need to interconnect with others at a local, regional and international level. Through ENNI, service providers can facilitate global coverage via a standard connection to local, regional and international networks. With global adoption of ENNI, the stage is set for seamless reach to remote offices, corporate headquarters, data centers and more.

But how do carriers assure that service attributes, including performance and support, are maintained across other networks? Carriers are looking for a means to assure the integrity of services, and seeking flexible technologies to support connectivity in multi-vendor environments. In the past, this was done through extensive operations and engineering coordination, and success was determined by the parties' ability to collaborate.

Traditionally, connecting two separate networks made it difficult to guarantee end-to-end quality, visibility and control of the service. The network management team on one side would coordinate with the other team on every aspect of day-to-day operations. If a problem arose, no one team had complete visibility into the entire network. Both teams would work together to identify and address the issue -- requiring valuable time and resources for even the smallest fixes. This method also can lead to finger-pointing and customer frustration.

Prior to ENNI, network management teams were forced to coordinate efforts to isolate faults, tying up valuable resources and disappointing customers. This changed when the Metro Ethernet Forum ratified the MEF 26 specification in 2011, defining Phase 1 of the External Network to Network Interface (ENNI), they ushered in a new generation of services.

The specification guides carriers, equipment vendors, and enterprise clients concerning details such as service alignment, Class of Service guidelines and maintenance procedures. The MEF 26 ratification covers connection for both E-Line (point-to-point) and E-LAN (multipoint-to-multipoint) services, ensuring that, when two or more services are connected, the resulting link will meet end-to-end class of service (CoS) levels and operations administration and maintenance (OAM) will be maintained. With ENNI, popular products like EPL (point-to-point) and E-LAN (multipoint-to-multipoint) are enabled globally for enterprise IT professionals.

MORE FROM MEF: Carrier Ethernet 2.0 aims for global connectivity

As ENNI gains ubiquitous adoption, end-to-end service restoration will improve, eliminating finger-pointing, reducing customer frustration and mitigating down time.

ENNIs enable carriers to deliver robust solutions to enterprise customers with accelerated time to market, improved geographic reach, end-to-end guaranteed SLAs and an empowered service and support team.

Service providers that leverage ENNI can deliver the following benefits to customers:

• Improved availability: Service turn-up time is improved as interconnections through a standards-based ENNI are faster to provision than previous carrier network connections. Interconnecting carriers' services defined by CoS are pre-mapped at the ENNI to best align service attributes across networks. Bandwidth can also be quickly increased or turned up at existing ENNI ports.

• Faster provisioning

• Defined class of service

• Better asset utilization

• Improved visibility: Network management teams gain end-to-end visibility, allowing for greater quality control and offering opportunities for providers to improve their ability to respond to network issues. This allows for proactive monitoring of the connection; your service provider can quickly and efficiently troubleshoot the situation from their NOC without waiting for the response of other network operations teams. ENNI also makes available performance statistics optionally available to the client.

• One-stop shopping, one unified customer bill: ENNI enables a single trusted service provider to act as a single point of service delivery. Often, businesses do not want to manage a new carrier in order to connect a remote office, particularly an international one. They want to work with a trusted provider and purchase the same familiar services they use today. Additionally, there is the ease and convenience of having a single bill, one customer support number and a consistent support team.

ENNI brings the benefits of high-capacity communications services to the masses, enabling networks to expand and streamline operations. Large enterprises are now able to expand their private networks to rural areas, where network expansion or dark fiber may not have been an option. Regional offices are able to efficiently share resources and gain economies of scale via one simplified interconnection. With standards based services, organizations will be able to increase footprint and easily reach larger geographies and evolving markets, while carriers can connect globally, leveraging existing networks.

By supporting standardized interconnections, Ethernet service providers can span multiple networks, and provide alternative options to customers that facilitate higher quality, faster rollout, and improved visibility.

By supporting standardized interconnections, Ethernet service providers can span multiple networks, and provide alternative options to customers that facilitate higher quality, faster rollout and improved visibility. Ethernet and ENNI are the enablers of cloud, and bring convergence of transport, LAN and data center technologies. Together, they foster the ability to quickly and seamlessly connect networks on a unified platform creating a host of new opportunities around the globe for enterprise infrastructure.

Sidera Networks LLC is the premier provider of tailored, high capacity communications services to carrier and enterprise customers. Sidera Networks offers a comprehensive suite of facilities-based services including: Ethernet, SONET, Wavelength, Dark Fiber, Internet Access, Colocation and more. For more information email or visit

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