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This article sets out the opportunity and the role of Ethernet within large-scale carrier networks. Carrier Ethernet can greatly reduce the consequences of the complexity associated with the large scale and broad scope of carriers' networks by being a cost-effective replacement for SONET/SDH. However, in order to achieve this, carrier Ethernet needs to provide the equivalent level of transparency, simplicity, and reliability currently achieved by SONET/SDH, and the emerging IEEE Ethernet standards for PBB and PBB-TE are well suited to this role. These technologies are an ideal complement to IP/MPLS for which they can provide highly cost-effective managed and guaranteed bit pipes.