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MEF to streamline wholesale Ethernet services
By Ed Gubbins

May 13, 2008 3:37 PM

The Metro Ethernet Forum continues its important work on a range of industry standards fronts. Perhaps one of the forum's most auspicious efforts is its most recent one: the formation of a new wholesale access group assembled to author a set of standard procedures for ordering Ethernet services on a wholesale basis.

The aims of the group, formed only this spring, point toward a long-sought dream in the carrier Ethernet world: an environment in which Ethernet services can be ordered as predictably and reliably as T-1 services.

“Right now when Verizon orders a T-1 from AT&T, they know exactly what to expect,” said Nan Chen, president of the MEF. “They don't have to say much. The same thing needs to happen in Ethernet. But a lot of variables need to be ironed out first.

“Our goal is define the actual processes in a template of Ethernet services being ordered between service providers, so they'll be streamlined,” Chen said. “If they ask for a certain speed or class of service, there will be common definitions, so there's no confusion. End-to-end visibility needs to be ensured. Performance needs to be ensured, so delay, jitter and loss will be part of this group's [focus].”

This template, once established, will accelerate Ethernet's drive toward ubiquity, he said.

The new working group includes representatives from more than 10 carriers, including AT&T, Europe's Colt Telecom, France Telecom, NTT, Verizon and several top cable operators.

It's no surprise that so many cable players and international carriers make up the group's roster. By making it easier for carriers to purchase Ethernet services where they don't have physical infrastructure, the group's work will allow carriers from all around the world to more easily enter the U.S. market for Ethernet services, “and vice-versa,” Chen said.

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