Is Ethernet The Missing Key To Rural Connectivity?

Ethernet as a technology is being adopted widely around the world. With better connectivity becoming the need of the hour, the significance of Ethernet cannot be ignored. In a country like ours, this technology can easily be the bridge connecting a growing India and the other half, which is not a part of this growth. Deepak Verma, SVP, Enterprise Broadband, Reliance Communications, says, "There should be a slogan, which says pani, bijali and Ethernet for everyone".

Kevin Vachon, COO, Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), says, "Ethernet is being used in three ways in the country. It is being used extensively for infrastructures by service provider organisations. It is also being used to deliver a new generation of business services, and finally, it is being used extensively for backhaul of traffic for residential support".

Verma adds that as this technology is layer 2, it has the benefits of layers 1 and 2, which is unique and the best part of it. "All the applications required by residential areas and corporates can be taken care of by Ethernet," he adds further.

Ethernet is now being considered as a basic need by many. So, is this the ultimate solution for connecting rural India with the world at large? Dr Raghu Ranganathan, PhD and Technology Director, Office of CTO, Network Architecture & Standards, Ciena, says, "There will be a natural need to provide connectivity not only for the urban population but also for the rural population. One of the ways this can be done is by having WiMAX deployment across the country because then you don’t have to rely on copper connections as such". He further adds that through Internet centres in rural areas, which are equipped with point-to-point WiMAX connections, one can easily provide Ethernet services across the country.

"This is imperative not only for residential purposes but also for businesses, who will want to expand their horizons, and reach the not-yet-saturated markets in the country. Also, the agriculturists will benefit as they will now have information at their finger tips. It is not just corporates, who have realised the importance of Ethernet, but the government as well," says Dr Ranganathan.

Prasenjit Dey, Sr Product Manager-Ethernet, Tata Communications, says, "The government is focusing heavily on the rural parts of the country. This leaves the service providers with no choice but to address these areas as well. Also, the market in these areas is growing at a tremendous rate. Take the education sector, for example, which is growing by the day. As the concept of distance learning creeps into universities, the need for maximum penetration through services like Ethernet will become the need of the hour".

Verma agrees and adds further that certain applications like video, which are the best mode for communicating with the rural populace because of the low literacy rate prevalent there, are best provided through Ethernet services.

With responses like this, it certainly seems like Ethernet is the future, which will bring the entire country onto the same platform.

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Updated Date: Mar 30, 2010 12:15:13 IST