January 29, 2003--The Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) Forum and the Frame Relay Forum (FRF) announced today plans to merge into one organization. The combined organization, to be known initially as the MPLS and Frame Relay Alliance, will bring together telecommunications service providers, equipment vendors, and software and silicon suppliers under a unified industry association. Members of both groups will be asked to vote to accept the merger, completion of which is expected in the next two months.
"The combination of the MPLS Forum and the FRF will benefit the industry as a whole," asserts Andrew G. Malis, chairman and president of the MPLS Forum. "Frame Relay has enjoyed enormous success as an access protocol, and with the growth of MPLS in service provider core networks, the two have already demonstrated a natural synergy."
"This alliance will foster the interworking of both technologies," adds Joe Kimball, chairman and president of the FRF. "Frame Relay serves as an ideal access technology and the integration of Frame Relay with MPLS networks is important to both the end users and the industry."
"AT&T has long been a key contributor to the development of MPLS technology and, in fact, was the first U.S. carrier to deploy MPLS on Frame Relay four years ago," explains Frank Ianna, president of AT&T Network Services. "We envision a future network that will replace today's multiple networks (ATM, Frame Relay, Private Line) with a single, global, MPLS-enabled backbone over an intelligent optical IP-based core, with intelligent nodes and multi-protocol/multi-service capabilities at its edges. It's our hope that the combination of these two forums helps us and the industry move closer to that vision."
"The primary strength of these two forums is that they bring technical specifications and interoperability to the industry," contends Steven Taylor, technology analyst at Distributed Networking Associates Inc. "By combining efforts, the two technologies can more easily address the network traffic problems that carriers face today. The FRF pioneered the Forum concept and has been remarkably successful in fostering a community for successful cooperation among fierce competitors. This alliance will combine the FRF's historical strength and spirit with the MPLS Forum's leading-edge technology advances."