Metro optical ethernet (also known as optical ethernet, or ethernet), supports bandwidths ranging from 3 megabits per second (mbps) up to 1000 mbps. The word optical in the phrase metro optical ethernet refers to fiber optics, also referred to as fiber. Optical ethernet is extremely efficient for facilitating all applications traditionally carried over other forms of bandwidth such as T1, DS3 or OC3. Metro optical ethernet is used for point-to-point circuits, MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) networks, access to the PSTN (public switched telephone network), and direct access to the internet.
One of the great advantages of optical ethernet is that it is often available as burstable bandwidth. With burstable bandwidth, a customer could order and pay for a set amount of bandwidth, like 100 mbps, but have access to automatically burst above the 100 mbps up to 1000 mbps during periods of special need. An example of a business that would benefit by using burstable bandwidth would include call centers which routinely use 100 mbps for their phone and internet service, but must burst above the 100 mbps during each time one of their products is advertised nationally. With burstable bandwidth, a business is only charged for the extra bandwidth when they use it. So for the example of the call center, their monthly bill would only be for the 100 mbps, plus the cost of extra bandwidth used, but only for the time they used the extra bandwidth. This provides much savings over paying for 1000 mbps for the entire month just so the business would have the extra bandwidth during intermittent periods of extra need.