MEF tackles multiple classes of service support in mobile backhaul networks

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) has unveiled its Mobile Backhaul Initiative for 4G/LTE. The initiative, which combines a new implementation agreement with the recently enhanced MEF 22.1 agreement and position papers and other educational aids, aims to guide service providers in the deployment and use of Ethernet’s multiple classes of service (Multi-CoS) capabilities. Proper use of Multi-CoS can save as much as 25% of the cost of using single CoS in backhaul applications, the MEF suggests.

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) has unveiled its Mobile Backhaul Initiative for 4G/LTE. The initiative, which combines a new implementation agreement with the recently enhanced MEF 22.1 agreement and position papers and other educational aids, aims to guide service providers in the deployment and use of Ethernet’s multiple classes of service (Multi-CoS) capabilities. Proper use of Multi-CoS can save as much as 25% of the cost of using single CoS in backhaul applications, the MEF suggests.

A new implementation agreement, MEF 23.1, is at the heart of the initiative. It complements the MEF 22.1 Mobile Backhaul implementation agreement to outline support for Multi-CoS in 4G/LTE backhaul applications. As an example, MEF 23.1 supports the enhanced synchronization capabilities that 4G/LTE networks will require. It also addresses such elements as service mapping, link and service OAM, and resiliency.

“Mobile operators all agree that the industry’s single biggest challenge and operating cost is in delivering the bandwidth needed for 4G/LTE backhaul,” says MEF President Nan Chen. “It’s important to take a holistic approach, so for the first time, the MEF introduces its Mobile Backhaul Initiative with an integrated suite consisting of the MEF 22.1 Mobile Backhaul implementation agreement, MEF 23.1 Multi-CoS implementation agreement, and a technical business paper clarifying the urgency and justification of migrating to Multi-CoS if cost-effective expansion and efficient deployment of 4G/LTE are to be achieved. It also includes other technical guidance on best practices and a new paper on packet-based frequency synchronization.”

The MEF believes that most carriers have begun to evolve toward an Ethernet-based approach for mobile backhaul. However, most carriers have adopted an approach based on a single class of service, which means all traffic is treated the same. As networks evolve towards 4G/LTE and must support a wider range of services with different network resource priorities and sensitivity to delay, moving to an architecture that supports multiple CoS will become necessary.

Chen provides more detail in a video on the MEF website. Copies of the position paper, as well as other documentation, are available from the same page.

“Multi-CoS is a breakthrough in delivering sustainable quality and profitable deployment of mobile services, because it allows highly efficient bandwidth usage – with less dependency on over-provisioning, combined with more responsive QoS delivered to more users,” said Nav Chander, senior analyst at IDC. “It delivers significant benefits to both mobile operators and Ethernet access provider partners; and MEF is at the forefront of enabling the onset of a whole new class of mobile value-added services.”

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