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Light Squared to use CENX Ethernet exchange for backhaul connectivity


Carrier Ethernet exchange operator CENX aims to leverage the same technology it developed to support its Ethernet exchanges (CP: CENX partnership with CoreSite emphasizes connectivity for cloud providers) to pursue new opportunities in the mobile backhaul market, announcing today its first backhaul customer—Light Squared.

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Mobile operators should be able to save 30% or more by purchasing Ethernet backhaul services through CENX, said CENX CEO Nan Chen in an interview. The savings would result from several factors, he said.

One consideration is that mobile operators tend to buy all of their connections in an area from the same network operator because it is easier than dealing with multiple providers, Chen said. But by using the CENX platform to “rationalize” differences in how various service providers have implemented Ethernet services, service providers can minimize the downside of dealing with multiple providers, Chen said. “You get the best price per cellsite rather than the best price per market,” explained Chen.

By using CENX, mobile operators also can minimize their dependence on real-time classes of Ethernet service, said Chen. Currently he said mobile operators may be opting for relatively high-cost real-time Ethernet service classes in order to obtain uniformity among backhaul providers. But considering that the majority of their traffic typically goes to the Internet, Chen said carriers can select lower-priority classes of service for the majority of their traffic, reserving real-time service only for traffic that requires it such as network control, session control and voice traffic—and the CENX platform makes that an easier option to implement.

Another element of the CENX backhaul offering is monitoring capability, which gives both mobile network operators and backhaul providers the ability to track the performance of backhaul network connections, Chen said. Operators, he said, gain “clear visibility to immediately recognize where a problem is.”

Other mobile operators also using the service

Mobile operators will drive participation in the CENX exchange by requiring any carrier vying to be a backhaul provider to participate, Chen said. And although Light Squared is the first announced mobile network operator for the CENX backhaul offering, other mobile operators also have committed to using it, Chen said. 

In some cases, backhaul providers will connect to existing CENX Ethernet exchanges. But Chen said, “Some wireless operators want a private exchange. It’s a mixed bag. We will do both.” As a result, CENX envisions adding “quite a few more” locations to its Ethernet exchange footprint.


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