Ethernet equipment

MEF Rubber Stamps Ethernet Gear

BERLIN – Carrier Ethernet World Congress – The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) today announced that 39 products from 16 vendors had passed its initial Carrier Ethernet Certification process, described by vendors, analysts, and carriers alike as an important step towards making Ethernet more acceptable to telecom operators.

The equipment companies getting the MEF rubber stamp today are:

For the full list of products, and the services for which they're certified, see Table 1:

Table 1: Who Has the MEF Certificates
Company Name System Name Carrier Ethernet Services Certified
Actelis Networks MetaLIGHT 50 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
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 311)
(LightningEdge 307)
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

For a more exhaustive look at the Ethernet revolution, check out Light Reading's Ethernet Expo 2005, to be held at the Grand Hyatt in New York City on October 12, 13 & 14, 2005.

Hosted by Light Reading founders Peter Heywood and Stephen Saunders, Ethernet Expo 2005 will be the first conference and exhibition dedicated to examining the evolution of Ethernet into a ubiquitous enabler of next-gen services and applications on telecom and enterprise networks.

For more information, click here.

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