Tinet, Neutral Tandem spawn EtherCloud

Joseph Waring
telecomasia.net
Tinet yesterday launched a Layer 2 platform that connects diverse partner networks into an Ethernet cloud that delivers end-to-end Ethernet and VPLS connectivity. 
 
The global wholesale offering, called EtherCloud, is the result of the integration of independent Ethernet offerings from Tinet and Neutral Tandem.  
 
Tinet was acquired last October by Neutral Tandem -- a global provider of voice, data and video interconnection services based in Chicago. The acquisition combines Neutral Tandem's interconnection services for wireless, wireline, cable and broadband providers with Tinet's global IP backbone, which includes 120 points of presence (PoPs). 
 
Neutral Tandem president and COO Surendra Saboo told TelecomAsia that Neutral Tandem introduced an Ethernet exchange last year, but after acquiring Tinet they combined the two companies' Ethernet strategies to develop EtherCloud based largely on input from customers. 
 
"My first meetings with customers about the Ethernet exchange was that we can do all these NNIs [network-to-network interfaces], we can connect you and make it easier. But they said that technology is not the issue, 'what are you going to do about simplifying all the business relationships'," Saboo explained. "That's where it takes them nine months to a year to get leverage." 
 
He said EtherCloud is designed to make it easier for its suppliers and customers to do business. "It moves from the whole exchange strategy to being more a holistic platform that connect the islands, as exchanges are sort of islands by themselves." 
 
Vertical Systems director of research services Erin Dunne said that the opportunity for Ethernet exchanges in totally dependent on the stabilization of Ethernet exchange business models, which are in the very early stages and have yet to take off. Vertical Systems is a US-based provider of statistics and analysis on networking markets. 
 
Dunne asked if service providers already have NNIs and have MEF-based services, "why do they need an exchange? An exchange needs to offer them a value-add to go to the exchange that going to make it better, faster and cheaper than doing it themselves."  
 
Otherwise, she said they will continue to do things the way they've have been done for years, which is with off-net partnerships. 
 
She said the EtherCloud service is a direct offshoot of the Ethernet exchange business model issue. Saboo said EtherCloud connects all of the company's 120 PoPs worldwide that are Ethernet ready through an MPLS network, so  "any connection to one of our PoPs gives you access to the entire network." 
 
Through a single E-NNI, EtherCloud members can buy Ethernet and VPLS connectivity and sell their own services to other EtherCloud members globally. It is supported by a customer portal built to simplify and speed up the way members request and receive information. 
 
The company said the portal allows customers to receive price quotes, check for available capacity, order services and monitor service performance on an end-to-end basis. 
 
Saboo noted that if a company can't turn around a price quotation quickly, it loses business. "Fast turnaround is fundamental to business as you have to send out a hundred to get two or three orders. So automating the process vital." 
 
The system is designed, said Tinet CMO Paolo Gambini, to simplify and streamline customers’  off-net interconnections, to extend their network reach and to market their local Ethernet services to customers worldwide. He said the offering is strengthened by end-to-end SLAs to meet the demands of enterprise customers. 

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