What is Metro Ethernet? - Neos Networks

What is Metro Ethernet?

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What is Metro Ethernet?

Metro Ethernet is an ethernet transport network used to connect sites across a city. Learn all about Metro Ethernet, the different types of Metro Ethernet services, and how they can benefit your business.

What’s Metro Ethernet

Metro Ethernet is a network that uses ethernet standards to interconnect sites in a metropolitan area network (MAN). It’s a cost-effective, scalable way to connect multiple locations across a city or urban area.

Originally developed as a technology for local area networks (LANs), ethernet used to have limited range and capacity. Today, ethernet has evolved into Carrier Ethernet, which offers high-bandwidth data transmission over longer distances for wide area networks (WANs).

Metro Ethernet is a type of Carrier Ethernet used in a city location offering data transfer speeds of 1Mbps to 10Gbps.

What’s Metro Ethernet used for?

If you’re a business or network service provider, you can use Metro Ethernet in a metropolitan area network to:

  • Interconnect your business offices or data centres
  • Connect your business sites to the internet
  • Provide IPTV, video conferencing and other collaboration tools via multicasting
  • Connect your business sites to cloud services
  • Deliver internet connectivity to business or domestic subscribers if you’re an internet service provider (ISP)
  • Provide mobile backhaul services if you’re a mobile provider

In other words, you can connect all your sites in a city to the internet and the cloud in a single, scalable network.

What are the benefits of Metro Ethernet for businesses?

Metro Ethernet offers several advantages over traditional wide area networks, including:

  • High speed: Metro Ethernet offers high bandwidth, providing fast connectivity with low latency.
  • Cost-effectiveness: As Metro Ethernet networks are simpler, they can offer competitive prices for a given bandwidth.
  • Ease of management: Ethernet standards are widely used in businesses, making Metro Ethernet easy to set up, manage and maintain.
  • Scalability: Metro Ethernet networks typically use fibre optic cabling and can be scaled up to speeds of 10Gbps without significantly upgrading infrastructure.
  • Flexibility: Metro Ethernet supports various topologies and configurations and different types of traffic, including voice, data and video.
  • Reliability: Metro Ethernet supports Quality of Service (QoS) for critical applications and Ethernet operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM) for easy troubleshooting.

Overall, Metro Ethernet gives you flexible, high-bandwidth connectivity across a city at a relatively low cost.

How does Metro Ethernet work?

Metro Ethernet uses switches and routers typically connected by fibre optic cable to create a point-to-point (P2P) or point-to-multipoint (P2MP) network.

A Metro Ethernet network comprises:

The physical arrangement of a Metro Ethernet network – the network topology – depends on the type of service.

Types of Metro Ethernet services

There are several types of Metro Ethernet services, as defined by the Metro Ethernet Forum, the non-profit association that sets Carrier Ethernet standards. Below are the main Metro Ethernet services and their network topologies:

Metro Ethernet services

Service type Topology Description
E-Line (Ethernet Line Service) Point-to-point Directly connects two business sites
E-LAN (Ethernet LAN Service) Multipoint-to-multipoint Allows multiple sites to exchange data directly with each other
E-Tree (Ethernet Tree Service) Rooted multipoint Connects a central site to multiple sites, but the “leaves” (branch nodes) of the tree don’t exchange data directly
E-Access (Ethernet Access Service) Network-to-network Provides a local access connection to another carrier’s network


Which Metro Ethernet service is right for you depends on the size and complexity of your network and your business priorities.

Our Metro Ethernet solutions

At Neos Networks, we offer a range of Metro Ethernet solutions with various network services and topologies to suit your needs. Here are some Ethernet services we can configure for your business.

Point-to-point Ethernet

Ethernet Private Line (EPL), a kind of E-Line service, provides point-to-point (P2P) connectivity between a pair of dedicated User Network Interfaces (UNIs) and allows for a high degree of transparency along the network.

Point-to-point Ethernet

Passive optical wavelength


If your business needs a private, high-bandwidth connection between two locations with low latency and high availability, EPL is an excellent choice.

Point-to-multipoint Ethernet

If you want to connect multiple sites, Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL), another E-Line service, may be for you. EVPL can enable multiple Ethernet Virtual Connections (EVCs) per UNI to support point-to-multipoint (P2MP) connectivity.

Point-to-multipoint Ethernet


EVPL P2MP ethernet network


Both P2P and P2MP Ethernet provide the simplicity of private connections combined with the flexibility and scalability of MPLS technology across a range of bandwidths.

Any-to-any Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS)

If you want the flexibility of any-to-any connectivity, an E-LAN service like Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) may work for you. VPLS is a type of virtual private network (VPN) that links multiple sites in a single domain through IP routing or MPLS.

Any-to-any VPLS

VPLS any-to-any ethernet network


With VPLS, you can connect all your sites to the same secure, high-speed network with a flexible capacity of up to 10Gbps.

Network-to-Network Interface (NNI)

If you’re a larger business, our E-Access Network-to-Network (NNI) services may be ideal. With Point-to-NNI connectivity, you can connect multiple sites back to your network as efficiently as possible at bandwidths that suit your needs.



Point-to-NNI Ethernet


Whatever kind of connectivity you need, we’ll be happy to design a cost-effective, scalable, high-speed network for your business, so get in touch.

Metro Ethernet FAQs

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