Carrier Ethernet ups its game with 2.0 specification

Metro Ethernet Forum says the new-generation spec adds classes of service, manageability and easier interconnect.

From the March, 2013 Issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine

Metro Ethernet Forum says the new-generation spec adds classes of service, manageability and easier interconnect.

by Patrick McLaughlin

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF; www.MetroEthernetForum.org) recently acknowledged the first 20 vendors to offer products that are certified to its Carrier Ethernet 2.0 specifications. In a ceremonial announcement on January 29, the MEF's chairman Ihab Tarazi characterized the benefits of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 as, "A surge in the number of access providers in the Ethernet community, new markets for regional providers, application-oriented SLAs [service level agreements], optimized mobile backhaul and cloud service delivery … These are among the benefits now on offer."

The MEF announced the Carrier Ethernet 2.0 specification in February 2012 and the certification program in April. When the spec was unveiled, the organization explained its three fundamental standardized features were multiple classes of service (Multi-CoS), interconnect, and manageability, "enabling the delivery of differentiated applications over managed and interconnected networks globally," the MEF explained. At that time Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet and an advisory director of the MEF, reflected, "Many ‘new Ethernets' were born since its humble 2.94-Mbit/sec beginnings in Palo Alto. It's been more than a decade since Ethernet ventured out into the wide area network, and seven years since we defined the first carrier-class networks and services that we all know as Carrier Ethernet. Just as the web browser revolutionized the efficiency and usability of the Internet, CE 2.0 is positioned to revolutionize the efficiency and usability of Ethernet service delivery."

The CE 2.0 specification includes eight services, up from the original spec's three services. Mike Volgende, chair of the MEF board and director of business process management with Verizon, explained the significance to the services' ultimate customers. "For the enterprise, CE 2.0 will mean more consistent performance levels and associated SLAs regardless of office location," he said. "It will also enable enterprises to reach all their offices more efficiently on a global basis. For small/medium businesses, it will further the availability of capabilities such as Internet and hosted services on a single Carrier Ethernet connection, with higher SLAs for those hosted services."

The CE 2.0 specifications have many more implications for mobile operators as well as retail and wholesale service providers—implications that are largely or entirely invisible to the end-user customer receiving the service. As the CE 2.0 specification was announced and the parameters of the certification program in the works, MEF certification committee co-chair and director of broadband, access and transport services with AT&T, Eric Puetz, explained, "The MEF certification program has done more than just verify compliance; it has established a standard for deployed services. As CE 2.0 is introduced, once again MEF certification will play a vital role of speeding deployment, creating a trusted baseline and establishing proper recognition for those who bring CE 2.0 benefits to market, especially to the end user."

Moving ahead to January 2013, the list of the first vendors to achieve CE 2.0 certification includes some names recognizable for the premises cabling products and technologies they provide.

Omnitron Systems Technology (www.omnitron-systems.com) and Transition Networks (www.transition.com) are recognized as providers of media converters for enterprise and other applications. And indeed the CE 2.0-certified products from each of them resides on the customer premises.

For Omnitron, it's the iConverter network interface devices (NIDs) that have achieved CE 2.0. Rammy Bahalul, the company's vice president of marketing, commented, "CE 2.0 extends the capabilities of Carrier Ethernet with multiple classes of service, greater manageability and easier interconnect for eight standard types of services. iConverter NIDs have been certified to deliver the next generation of Ethernet services, enabling application-oriented SLAs, and optimizing LTE mobile backhaul and cloud services."

Omnitron's chief executive officer Arie Goldberg, also an MEF board member, noted, "CE 2.0 is a highly challenging and significant accreditation to achieve, and it creates an important standard for the marketplace. Over the past decade, Carrier Ethernet has become the biggest success story in the telecom industry."

Transition Networks' S3280 intelligent Ethernet demarcation device also achieved CE 2.0 certification. Transition says the product was developed specifically to be compliant with the CE 2.0 specifications. The company's director of product management, Kevin Faulds, stated, "Transition Networks continues to develop leading-edge products for service providers that enable them to streamline Ethernet services for business and mobile-backhaul applications within a highly reliable environment." He added the company "is honored to be among the first vendors to achieve the CE 2.0 certification."

The presence or absence of CE 2.0-certified products in the network that provides access service will be essentially invisible to an enterprise or small- to medium-size business customer. However the entire purpose of the CE 2.0 specification is to enable faster service activation and more reliable service for connections that may link distant offices to one another, provide a private cloud service connection, or other vital business needs. ::

Patrick McLaughlin is our chief editor.

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