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MEF: CE 2.0 Certification Pipeline Filling Up

Dan O'Shea

The number of service providers attaining Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification through the Metro Ethernet Forum is set to jump quickly in 2014, with 10-12 providers engaged in the certification process as of the fourth quarter of 2013, an MEF official told us.

Daniel Bar-Lev, director of certification and strategic programs for the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) , said the number of providers in the process of earning service certification last quarter was roughly equal to the combined number of carriers engaged in the process during the first three quarters of 2013.

Bar-Lev and MEF COO Kevin Vachon disputed the perception that CE 2.0 certification has been a bust. They said the number of service providers certified for CE 2.0 in the first year after the program began is twice the number of carriers that were certified for CE 1.0 (which at the time covered the MEF 9 and MEF 14 specifications) in the first year of that program. (See: Is 2014 the Year of Carrier Ethernet 2.0?)

They admitted the CE 2.0 process is moving slowly, though to some degree the current pace was expected. "It's not a requirement, but before service providers get their own services certified, they want to use equipment that is CE 2.0 certified," Bar-Lev said. "They didn't have a clear picture of that before. They also need to make their own business decisions about CE 2.0 and get their engineering teams and roadmaps organized toward that goal, and I think that took a little more time than they themselves expected."

About 29 vendors are listed on the MEF website as being CE 2.0 certified. "The vendors also need to need to fit this into their own product roadmaps and strategies," Bar-Lev said.

For both carriers and vendors, the CE 2.0 certification process takes about three months. About one month is spent on internal preparations. Another month is devoted to the actual testing, and the third is spent evaluating and discussing the results. The name of the company is then added to the MEF's public certification registry; the timing is usually based on the individual company's desire to publicize the information. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) became the first service provider to be CE 2.0 certified last February (See: Comcast Nabs Carrier Ethernet 2.0 Certification.)

Research from Heavy Reading last summer indicated that about 80% of service providers surveyed expected to have at least one service CE 2.0 certified by the middle of 2015. Earlier Heavy Reading research had suggested CE 2.0 adoption would not begin en masse before 2014, so the sector looks to be entering a roughly year-and-a-half-long window that could see a lot of CE 2.0 activity. (See: SDN Will Reshape Ethernet Services Landscape and Operators Like CE 2.0 – So Far.)

"When we announced CE 2.0 in 2012, we knew it would take a fairly substantial amount of time for carriers to get their heads around it and decide to buy in," Vachon said. "But regarding their interest, the answer has been an overwhelming 'yes.'" (See: MEF Sticks a '2.0' on Carrier Ethernet.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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1/12/2014 | 2:38:59 PM
What's in a name?
On the subject of a potential name change for the MEF, Vachon said that's something that was proposed 4-5 years ago, but ultimately membership felt there was still a lot of value in the existing name. He noted the group mostly identifies itself by the acronym, rather than the full Metro Ethernet Forum name.
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