Announcing ENNI Support for Q-in-Q, Network Extension and Backbone Expansion

I’m excited to share that we are releasing support for External Network to Network Interface (ENNI) as defined by Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) 26.2. ENNI enables QinQ, otherwise known as IEEE 802.1ad, which provides an outer Service-VLAN (SVLAN) tag and inner Customer VLAN (CVLAN) tag.

Figure 1: ENNI SVLAN and CVLAN tag

There are three major use cases that ENNI support unlocks for our customers: QinQ support for PacketFabric customers, network extension, and rapid backbone expansion.

Q-in-Q Support for PacketFabric Customers

When you utilize PacketFabric virtual circuits to connect parts of your network together, in one fashion or another you are getting access to two or more User Network Interfaces (UNI) into our network. These can manifest as ports that you cross-connect to within one of our hundreds of colocation data center PoPs, or as hosted or dedicated cloud direct connections. QinQ support has been a requested feature by a number of companies who want to leverage S-VLANs in their network.

Figure 2: For PacketFabric customers, Q-in-Q offers additional network management flexibility

Network Extension for Network Providers

If you’re a network provider, you can now take advantage of our ENNI support to offer network extensions from your WAN services to customer colocation data centers and cloud VPCs that are not reachable via your own network footprint. In essence, as seen below, you’d establish ENNI interfaces to our network, use double tagging (SVLAN and CVLAN) to the ENNI interface, then extend the CVLAN tag to the PacketFabric UNI as seen below.

Figure 3: Network operators can now extend a customer CVLAN to a PacketFabric network

The advantage of PacketFabric ENNI integration is that it is a simple and speedy way to gain much greater reach for your network services, plus the automation in our NaaS platform offers  rapid provisioning so you can deliver services on-demand and delight your customers. For example, if you’re a telecom services provider offering MPLS or hybrid MPLS/Internet SD-WAN services, with a ENNI integration using cross connects in common PoP locations, you can now create tail circuits on-demand to tie in any customer sites reachable by our network fabric.

Rapid Network Backbone Expansion

PacketFabric’s network is so different that it can take a few beats to realize just how powerful it is. For example, when folks think about software-defined networks, the first misperception is that it can’t be done with a real, optical network so it must just be software and VPN tunnels. If you get past that, then the assumption is that the only type of networking that can be automated is cloud on-ramp connections from colocation data centers to hosted direct cloud connections. That’s certainly very useful and something that PacketFabric offers. But the real mindblower is that the PacketFabric network is big enough (50T+ backbone) and powerful enough to serve as a backbone not just for large enterprises, but for service providers. Amongst our customers and partners are SaaS companies like Zoom and Github, cloud providers like Linode, Vultr, and Hivelocity, CDN providers, fintech companies, mobile roaming providers, data center operators like PhoenixNAP, adtech companies and many others who operate sizable digital businesses that require backbone connectivity.

ENNI offers an interesting option for rapid backbone expansion. Let’s say you’re a cloud or other provider of some sort and you’ve got two data centers in colocation facilities where we have PoPs. You have a 100Gbps link between them from a traditional provider. Then you land a big customer and they need 50Gbps of bandwidth, and that’s going to exceed your available capacity. You don’t want to wait months for your traditional provider to turn up a new circuit, because your new customer wants to get going! In this case, you can cross-connect to PacketFabric, set up 100G ENNI interfaces in both PoPs and voila! You can now provision SVLANs and CVLANs for your new customer(s) on-demand via our portal. Easy peasy.

Figure 4: Rapidly expand your backbone with ENNIs in two (or more) PacketFabric PoPs

Get Lit (Fiber Optically Speaking)

ENNI is available now. You can learn more in our excellent knowledgebase. If you want to learn more about our services in general, check out our Network-as-a-Services overview. If you’re ready to get started, register and start provisioning today. If you’d like to get some consultation about how to best take advantage of the PacketFabric platform, request a demo or contact us at sales@packetfabric.com.