The equipment companies getting the MEF rubber stamp today are:
- Actelis Networks Inc.
- Atrica Inc.
- Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR)
- Fujitsu Ltd.'s Network Communications business
- Hatteras Networks Inc.
- Metrobility Optical Systems
- MRV Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: MRVC)
- Riverstone Networks Inc. (OTC: RSTN.PK)
- Siemens Communications Group
- Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA)
- Tpack A/S
- World Wide Packets Inc.
Table 1: Who Has the MEF Certificates
|Company Name||System Name||Carrier Ethernet Services Certified|
|Actelis Networks||MetaLIGHT 50||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|MetaLIGHT 130||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Alcatel||Transport Service Switch||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Atrica||A-2100||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|A-4100||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco Systems||Cisco Catalyst 3750 Metro Series Switch||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco Catalyst 4500||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco Catalyst 4948-10G||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch - Supervisor 720||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch - Supervisor 32||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco 7600 Series Router - Cisco 7600 Series Supervisor Engine 720||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco ONS 15454 ML-Series||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco ONS 15454 CE-Series||EPL|
|Cisco ONS 15310 ML-Series||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Cisco ONS 15310 CE-Series||EPL|
|Extreme Networks||BlackDiamond 10808||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Summit 450||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Fujitsu Network Communications||FLASHWAVE 4020||EPL|
|FLASHWAVE 4100||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Hatteras Networks||HN4000 and HN400-CP||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Lucent Technologies||Metropolis DMX||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Metropolis DMXtend||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Metrobility Optical Systems||R821 E-Services NID / Ethernet Demarcation Device||EPL|
|MRV||OptiSwitch Master 207 series � OSM207||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Nortel||Metro Ethernet Routing Switch 8600||EPL|
|Riverstone||RS Ethernet Router||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Riverstone 15000 Ethernet Edge Router||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Siemens||SURPASS hiD 6650||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|(SURPASS hiD 6670)|
|Tellabs||Tellabs 8800 MSR||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|Tpack||Millburn Metro Ethernet/MPLS Demonstration System||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|World Wide Packets||LightningEdge 311v||EPL, EVPL and E-LAN|
|LightningEdge 327||EPL, E-LAN|
|LightningEdge 427||EPL, E-LAN|
|(LightningEdge 407)||EPL, E-LAN|
|LightningEdge 46||EPL, E-LAN|
|Source: Metro Ethernet Forum|
The MEF's program involves an extensive test process that determines whether vendors' equipment can deliver Ethernet services to the specifications set out in the industry body's MEF 9 standard. This standard focuses on Ethernet services at the user network interface (UNI), the point at which the user's network meets the service provider's network. The services tested in the process are: Ethernet Private Line (EPL); Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL); and Ethernet LAN.
The Forum hopes that by putting equipment through multiple tests -- 163 mandatory and 79 optional -- that service providers will be able to speed up their own testing processes and launch Ethernet services more quickly.
And at least one service provider agrees. Dr Ralf-Peter Braun, senior project manager at the photonic networks and network architectures division of T-Systems Inc., the business services arm of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), says the process is "very helpful for operators. It shows that the equipment can do what it's supposed to do." He also believes that certified equipment is more likely to be accepted into carriers' labs for further testing.
Gary Holland, European marketing director for Riverstone, agrees that the process should boost the acceptance of Ethernet equipment by carriers and raise confidence levels in the industry. "This is good for the whole industry. It's a tough set of tests -- they didn't leave any stones unturned." But he cautions that it won't lead to carriers simply accepting equipment into their networks. "Operators will still need to do their own tests. No matter how many scenarios you have in the certification tests, only the carriers can put the equipment through its paces with its own operations and business systems."
Heavy Reading senior analyst Stan Hubbard also believes the process will have an impact on the carrier Ethernet market. "This is quite a big deal. If you look at the companies involved, and especially see how seriously Cisco has taken this process, I'd imagine that most vendors will want to get involved with this."
Hubbard, who heads up Heavy Reading's carrier Ethernet switch/router market tracking service, says there are no great surprises on the list, but notes how strong Cisco's involvement is -- it has 10 products certified -- and also that Alcatel has not specified which of its products have been tested (see HR Launches CESR Market Tracker and Carrier Ethernet Makes Its Move).
Light Reading has learned that Alcatel's certified product is a new, yet-to-be-announced optical transport switch that will be unveiled in Madrid early next month at the Broadband World Forum Europe event. No further details were available from Alcatel.
Hubbard also points to the impressive showing by some of the smaller vendors in the Ethernet access equipment market, notably Actelis, Hatteras, and World Wide Packets. "This is a significant hurdle for these companies," says the analyst. "This puts them in a good competitive position in a sector with very high levels of activity at the moment."
But what of the vendors that aren't on the initial list? The list of potential firms is limited, as the process is currently only open to MEF members, but in the Ethernet access market, Hubbard notes the absence of MEF member Covaro Networks Inc. in particular.
So why isn't Covaro there? The vendor's VP of marketing, Fred Ellefson, says it's involved but isn't in any rush to complete the process. He says it wasn't important to be in the first group of companies, and that Covaro is working hard "to make sure we get it right first time."
Ellefson adds that, longer term, it will be important to have the MEF stamp of approval to get a foot in the door with large operators such as SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), which is currently putting Covaro's equipment through its paces. "We can see a time when you'll need a compliance certificate just to get into SBC's labs," he says.
And Covaro isn't the only company that will eventually add its name to the current list of 16 successful vendors. MEF president Nan Chen says there is a queue of firms waiting to have their equipment tested by Iometrix Inc., the lab chosen to perform the tests. That queue includes the four unidentified companies whose products were involved in the first round of testing (June to September) but which didn't make the grade. "It was clear from the start that some of the products wouldn't make it," says Iometrix president Bob Mandeville.
Mandeville, who used systems from Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) and Spirent Communications to perform the tests, says it hasn't been plain sailing for any of the companies involved, and that some had to resubmit their products three or four times before they even passed the pre-test phase of the process.
He adds that the MEF is now cooking up a plan for Ethernet traffic management testing, which examines service performance and bandwidth management attributes.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading
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