CENX takes tips from MEF, opens Carrier Ethernet exchanges

NOVEMBER 3, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- Acting on the conclusions reached by the Metro Ethernet Forum’s (MEF’s) Ethernet Exchange Committee, MEF executives have launched CENX, a private company that aims to make carrier-to-carrier interconnection of Carrier Ethernet services comparatively easy and economical by establishing Carrier Ethernet Neutral Exchanges through which carriers can interconnect and buy and sell Carrier Ethernet capacity.

NOVEMBER 3, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- Now here is an example of why it’s smart to participate in standards and specifications development.

Acting on the conclusions reached by the Metro Ethernet Forum’s (MEF’s) Ethernet Exchange Committee, MEF executives have launched CENX, a private company that aims to make carrier-to-carrier interconnection of Carrier Ethernet services comparatively easy and economical by establishing Carrier Ethernet Neutral Exchanges through which carriers can interconnect and buy and sell Carrier Ethernet capacity.

CENX Co-founder, President and CEO (and founding president of the MEF) Nan Chen said in a press briefing today that even with the upcoming standardization of the MEF’s external network-to-network interface (E-NNI), carrier-to-carrier interconnection will prove a long and laborious process. Different classes of service, data rates, service-level agreements, service profiles, etc., would make a nightmare of physical connection and service planning, provisioning, and management. The MEF, recognizing this upcoming challenge, created the Ethernet Exchange Committee, which included such operators as Verizon, AT&T, Level 3, Orange, Tata, Cablevision, and Cox. The committee concluded after a year of study that private entities would be best positioned to solve the problem.

So Chen and several other MEF members took the hint and launched CENX. The company has opened exchanges in three U.S. cities -- New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Other exchanges are planned, although Chen declined to provide details.

Chen also declined to discuss CENX’s customers other than to say the company has some.

The exchanges physically comprise switching and transport hardware, as well as associated backend software and applications support. Customers can access virtual interconnect, service alignment, service inquiry/ordering, and real-time portal/management services. The result is the CENX Market, where member customers can leverage these features to buy and sell capacity and services efficiently with other CENX members through a Web-based interface. CENX obviates the need for interoperability testing, certification, and truck rolls to create connections, speeding time to market, according to Chen.

The CENX management team reads like a who’s who of current and former MEF heavyweights. In addition to Chen, CENX executives include Chris Purdy, vice president, engineering and operations, the current specification editor of Carrier Ethernet service constructs in the MEF’s technical committee; Bill Bjorkman, chief technical advisor, co-chair of the MEF Technical Committee and co-editor for the E-NNI; and Mark Fishburn, vice president of marketing, a former MEF chairman of the board. Two members of the management team -- Ron Gavillet, executive vice president, external affairs, and general counsel, and Chris Swenson, vice president /chief financial officer -- previously worked at Neutral Tandem, an interconnect company.

Chen stressed that CENX is a private company that is not directly affiliated with the MEF. The CENX site provides no information about how it was funded.

Visit CENX

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