Metropolitan Ethernet

What Does Metropolitan Ethernet Mean?

Metropolitan Ethernet (Metro Ethernet) refers to using carrier Ethernet technology in metropolitan networks. Corporations, academic institutions and government agencies in large cities use Metro Ethernet to connect branch campuses and offices to the Internet. In other words, Metro Ethernet connects business local area networks (LAN) and end users to wide are networks (WAN) or the Internet.


Techopedia Explains Metropolitan Ethernet

Metro Ethernet is a service provider collection of layer 2 or layer 3 switches or routers connected through optical fiber. The topology may be a ring, hub and star or full or partial mesh.

Metro Ethernet may be used as pure Ethernet over synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH), Ethernet over multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) or Ethernet over dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM). Pure Ethernet deployments are less expensive but also less scalable and reliable. Thus, they are also limited to small-scale and experimental deployment. SDH-based deployments are useful when there is an established SDH infrastructure that is used by large service providers.

Metro Ethernet feasibility grew in the late 1990s due to new technological developments that allowed transparent traffic tunneling through virtual LANs as point-to-point or multipoint-to-multipoint circuits.

Metro Ethernet is widely used for small-scale deployments with less than a few hundred customers.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…