Is 2014 the Year of Carrier Ethernet 2.0?
Will 2014 be the year that the Metro Ethernet Forum's Carrier Ethernet 2.0 becomes widely adopted among service providers? For something once touted as "the new Ethernet," it's been a bust.
It has been almost two years since the MEF, along with Ethernet Godfather Bob Metcalfe, announced CE 2.0. Yet, 23 months later, the MEF's services registry lists only 14 service providers globally as offering CE 2.0-certified services (See MEF Sticks a '2.0' on Carrier Ethernet.)
There might be more who are not yet listed, still in the process of being certified, or even still in the process for network deployment. In fact, while many of us were on holiday late last month, Hutchison Global Communications Ltd. (HGC) and vendor partner Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) announced plans to launch the first CE 2.0-compliant network in Hong Kong, which is also believed to be the first CE 2.0 network in the broader region of Asia outside of Indonesia and the Philippines.
The relatively low number of CE 2.0-certified service providers pales in comparison to at least 73 that are CE 1.0-certified, according to the MEF website. Meanwhile, 29 vendors are listed as having their equipment CE 2.0-certified, compared to 81 for CE 1.0. It doesn't seem like vendors have felt rushed to adopt CE 2.0 either, perhaps because a large number of their service-provider customers just haven't demanded it.
CE 2.0 expanded the number of Ethernet service definitions to eight -- two each under the E-Line, E-LAN, E-Tree, and E-Access service categories -- while adding further support for interconnection and management, as well as performance objectives for multiple classes of service (MultiCoS). These are all aspects which would seem valuable as providers in an increasingly competitive sector look to differentiate their services, and also as they look to expand their reach into new markets via interconnection agreements.
But, with low adoption, the most obvious assumptions to make are that MultiCoS guarantees just haven't surfaced yet as market necessities, and that providers dont yet feel the need for standardized interconnection as they branch out. That reality seems to buttress some providers' early skepticism about MultiCoS. (See Carriers Not Cheering Complex Class of Service.)
It looks like a Heavy Reading Insider report from mid-2012 called it correctly when it stated, according to a survey of service provider officials, that many didn't see their companies likely to adopt CE 2.0 any time before 2014. Well, it's 2014, and if CE 2.0 is to be of value at the services level, it's time to prove it (See Operators Like CE 2.0 – So Far.)
Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading