Recommendations for Metro-Ethernet Equipment

I've been tasked with making a recommendation for the core and access
equipment for a small metro-ethernet network. We're probably talking at max
200-300 subs split between two termination points. Most customers will
probably be at speeds of 100M or less. We'd like the backbone to be 10G and
be MPLS capable. That being said some of the companies we've been looking at







We're looking to build the network in a cost effective manner so we're not
opposed to doing using aftermarket or refurbished equipment but we don't
want to start off with equipment that has no future of expanding.

Any suggestions, success or horror stories are appreciated. :wink:


I'd add Alcatel to that list.

We just bought a fair amount of MRV Optiswitches for that same purpose.


I'd add Alcatel to that list.

yep, and also (depending on specific needs/topologies):

Rad Data

(in no particular order)

Good luck,

I've been going through pretty much the same exercise looking for a decent PE for almost two years. Our requirements were for a PE device that had between 12-24 ports (in a perfect world, mixed mode 10/100/1000 copper + SFP), 10G uplinks, EoMPLS, MPLS VPN, DHCP server, port-protect/UNI (or similar) capabilities, DC power and a small footprint (1RU)

Of all the ones we looked at (Juniper, Cisco, Extreme, Brocade, MRV, Alcatel) initially, MRV was the only contender. The rest either didn't have a product, or their offering didn't meet various points within our criteria.

As such, we bought a bunch of MRVs in early 2009 and after four months of trial and error, we yanked every single one out of the network. From a physical perspective, the box was perfect. Port density was perfect, mixed-mode ports, promised a 10G uplink product soon, size was perfect, power was perfect, we thought we had it nailed. Unfortunately there are no words to describe how terrible the software was. The CLI took a little getting used to, which is pretty much par for the course when you're dealing with a new vendor, but the code itself was just absolutely broken, everywhere. Duplex issues, LDP constantly crashing taking the box with it, OSPF issues, the list went on and on. To their credit, they flew engineers up from the US and they were quite committed to making stuff work, but at the end of the day, they just couldn't make it go. We pulled the plug in May 2009 and I haven't heard a thing about their product since then, so maybe they've got it all together.

While meeting with Juniper a few months later about a different project, they said they had a product that might fit our needs. The EX4200. As such, we had a few of these loaned to our lab for a few months to put through their paces, from a features and interoperability perspective. They work[1] and they seem to work well. The show stopper was provisioning[1] and size. The box is massive, albeit it is still 1U.

[1] (I'm not a Juniper guy, so my recollection on specific terms and jargon may be a bit off kilter) they only support ccc, which makes provisioning an absolute nightmare. From my experience with Cisco and MRV, you only have to configure the EoMPLS vc. On the EX4200, you have to create the LSPs as well. To get a ccc working, the JunOS code block was far larger and much more involved per vc than the single line Cisco equivalent. To create the LSPs was, I believe, two more equally large sized code blocks. At the end of the day, it was just too involved. We needed something simpler.

About the same time that we started to evaluate the EX4200, Cisco had pitched us on their (then alpha) Whales platform. It looked promising (MRV still had the best form factor) and we expressed our interest in getting a beta unit in as soon as we were able to. This is now known as the ME3600 and ME3800 platform and we've been testing a beta unit in our lab for the past few months. This is the platform we have chosen. It's not perfect, but our gripes have more to do with form factor (it's 1RU, but it's a bit deeper than what we'd like) and port densities (no mixed mode ports) than software or features. We've been pretty pleased with it's feature set and performance, but this hasn't seen any real world action, so who knows how that will turn out.

If you're asking more about a P router or P/PE hybrid, we've also just ordered a few ASR9000s under try-and-buy as P/PEs to close up the chains of ME3600s that will start to be deployed in our remote sites. A Juniper MX would certainly work well here too, and it seems to interoperate rather well with the ME3600s, so that's certainly an option, but for us, we think it will work more in our favor to go with the ASRs in the core, but if not, we'd ship them back under the try-and-buy and get Junipers instead.

Hope that helps.

7600's/ASR 1k

Have you looked in to Ciso ME 3600X/ME 3800X series?

Without a bias these are the top notch products in the market for Metro E.


I think that's what Jason just said. :slight_smile:

Thanks to everyone who responded. Just got done talking with Extreme which
no one really mentioned. Seems like decent gear reasonably priced. Anyone
care to comment on them specifically or have them used them a metro Ethernet

I used Extreme 6808 and 6816 in the core and Summit 24's at the
edge/telemetry . The hardware was real flaky. We had lot of issues
with the Line cards. Lot of H?w replacements. Make sure if they can
provide you some statistics of RMA's.

To be fair, Our hardware was EOL, I am not sure if they have improved
but then we migrated all our equiment in 2008-2009.


We use quite a bit of extreme switches. I personally don't have anything against them other than their purple color
and that I don't really know their IOS that well. But to be fair, they have worked just fine.....

In the future I hope we can migrate over to cisco switches because I'm bias..... =)

Unrelated, but...

I use Extreme Summit in low-touch, user access areas because of it's
low cost and stacking capability as compared to J and C. I figure you
get what you pay for. The interface stats, ease of functionality for
some of the features I frequent, are seriously lacking. I've been told
that I could write a script to get close to the same functionality
that I get by default with my other two vendor choices, but I find
that unacceptable. I experienced that the LLDP-MED seems to require a
"re-config" occasionally to work consistently, so,....... this vendor
would not be my first choice to venture into a new technology. Others
posters [YMMV].

Now, the Extreme cost/benefit, small form factor and features such as
their proprietary ring protocol (similar to Cisco REP), may make them
a contender for MEF applications. I can't say. For high-touch, high
visibility purposes, I'm making other choices.


if anyone on the list has experience with their gear in the field I'd
love to hear your experiences off-list. I'll even buy you a beer if
you're in the nyc area.


Extreme Networks had a lot of memory chip problems for equipment manufacturered ~2000-2002. They improved a lot after that.