Metro Ethernet Forum ratifies first standard

9 October 2003 Newport Beach, CA Lightwave -- Carrier-class Ethernet services took a step forward this month with the ratification of the first Ethernet service standard by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). The new standard--MEF Technical Specification - Ethernet Services Model Phase 1--is the industry's first formal definition of Ethernet service capabilities, say Forum representatives.

9 October 2003 Newport Beach, CA Lightwave -- Carrier-class Ethernet services took a step forward this month with the ratification of the first Ethernet service standard by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). The new standard--MEF Technical Specification - Ethernet Services Model Phase 1--is the first formal definition of Ethernet service capabilities and marks Ethernet's inexorable progress from a Local Area Network connectivity technology to a robust metropolitan and wide area network services delivery technology, say Forum representatives.

"Network architects should take note," asserts Nan Chen, MEF president. "The drive for the acceleration of the adoption of Metro Ethernet has achieved significant momentum."

Many major analysts groups are predicting a surge of investment in metro Ethernet-- currently estimated at $14 billion in Ethernet-delivered services (Gartner Group) and $4.4 billion in equipment revenues (Infonetics Research) by 2005. The MEF has surveyed the service provider community and found over 50 providers offering or in the midst of rolling out Ethernet-delivered services. The new standard provides the conceptual tools to assist these service providers in modelling point-to-point and multipoint-to-multipoint Ethernet services through a standard framework of service attributes and parameters.

The new specification will be accompanied towards the end of this year with a companion Services Definitions specification. "Carriers, Enterprises and equipment vendors will now be able to communicate with a common set of terminologies that define Ethernet services," reports Ralph Santitoro, co-chair of the MEF Technical Marketing Committee.

This is an element of the MEF's phased plan to deliver carrier-class Ethernet. The plan includes MEF-based services coexisting with proprietary and legacy management systems in deployed networks, which would allow users to gain immediate benefits from deploying new services together with a migration to standards-based management, protection, and interfaces as they are developed by the MEF. All of these are currently under development by the MEF; further announcements will be made in the coming months.

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