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Happy 10th Birthday, Metro Ethernet Forum


TMCnews Featured Article

June 29, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday, Metro Ethernet Forum

By Tammy Wolf, TMCnet Web Editor

It’s been nearly 10 years since the Metro Ethernet Forum (News - Alert) formed to help accelerate the global adoption of carrier Ethernet networks and services, and carrier Ethernet is only at the cusp of its full potential.

According to an article at, a significant uptick in data traffic due to widespread smartphone adoption is behind the growth and success of carrier Ethernet. In fact, the Metro Ethernet Forum estimates that carrier Ethernet services could increase from its current $20 billion value to a whopping $40 billion and $50 billion in a matter of a few years.

This growth can also be attributed to carriers transitioning to IP networks in the earlier stages of carrier Ethernet, according to Michael Howard, co-founder of Infonetics (News - Alert).

"In the last year, if not in the last three, what has pushed it more dramatically has been video and mobile broadband,” Howard said.

Meanwhile, the Metro Ethernet Forum has served as the core of Ethernet specifications, interoperability and service-level standards, shaping what is today’s current Layer 2 Ethernet standard, according to

"MEF (News - Alert) has allowed for a common set of attributes and applications that has let service providers establish interconnections with other providers," said Jeff Schwarz, group manager for Ethernet WAN services for Verizon (News - Alert) Business. "You don't see a Layer 7 or Layer 5 industry body like what we have right now with Layer 2 Ethernet."

Since its formation in 2001, the Metro Ethernet Forum has functioned as a go-to resource for equipment vendors in search of certifying their Ethernet equipment for interconnectivity and interoperability. More importantly, the Forum has set the standards for carrier Ethernet in terms of service management, quality of service, scalability and reliability.

For example, E-Line and E-ELAN, two types of carrier Ethernet services, have been designed to offer “transparent, private line, virtual private line and LAN services to end users in a way that would accommodate customers' existing network standards such as TDM,” according to the article.

However, the Metro Ethernet Forum’s most significant contribution to the carrier Ethernet space, according to Schwarz, has been its efforts in helping service providers to align with the its standards, thus creating structure in the industry.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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