Ethernet services

Back to School for Carrier Ethernet Competition

As the kids are heading back to school, it looks like Carrier Ethernet professionals have been earning their degrees, too. The Metro Ethernet Forum's Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional (CECP) program reportedly is very near to reaching the milestone of 1,000 certified professionals, according to EthernetAcademy.net.

In the grand scheme of things, what do 1,000 certified professionals signify? Or for that matter, what will 2,000 certified professionals -- the number the program expects to certify before the end of next year -- mean for the industry?

Reaching 1,000 certified professionals certainly makes the CECP seem worthwhile. If it has awarded certifications at the rate of more than one professional per day during the past two years since launching program registration, it is doing something right. The broad effect is that Carrier Ethernet customers will have more confidence in the companies and individuals deploying their services and gear. (See MEF Certifies People.)

However, the aggregate number of certified Ethernet professionals throughout the industry may over the long term prove to be less significant than the breakdown of which companies have the most CECP graduates. The MEF helpfully provides this ongoing breakdown on its Services Certification Registry and Equipment Certification Registry, and EthernetAcademy.net even keeps a running tally by the names of the individuals who have been certified through the program and the names of their employers.

This looks to me like information with competitive value waiting to be exploited. It is not clear how often the MEF registries are updated or if the numbers for some companies may be more current than others. But it is interesting to note, for example, that TW Telecom has 58 employees who are CECP-certified, while AT&T lists only four. And on the vendor side, could it be possible that Fujitsu has 92 CECP grads, while Cisco Systems has none?

The disparity in some of the numbers may only demonstrate the CECP program is not yet a point of pride worth promoting for Carrier Ethernet service providers and vendors. However, as markets become more crowded with providers, and carriers and vendors explore new paths of competitive differentiation, CECP standing can and should gain new market relevance.

For now, the aggregate number of CECP earners reflects well on the sector, but the program will really be a hit when companies start showing how proud they are of their little graduates.

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

DOShea 9/9/2013 | 11:44:54 AM
#ESDN Probably a lot of those new CECP-certified pros will be attending Light Reading's Ethernet & SDN Expo http://www.ethernetsdnexpo.com/ Register now, and maybe you'll meet them. #ESDN
DOShea 9/2/2013 | 4:53:42 PM
Re: Stats tell us one of 2 things... I agree that it does make for better competitors, and that's at least partly why I chose to write about it in the first place. But not enough companies feel that way just yet. The MEF will help force the issue if there is more awareness they are keeping score in a pretty public way (and hopefully, we are forcing people to notice the MEF is forcing the issue...). I think vendors eventually will come to feel that CECP is a selling point in its own way--something their carrier customers will want to see checked off on the checklist before they buy.

craigeasley 9/2/2013 | 3:39:01 PM
Re: Stats tell us one of 2 things... I have no opinon about whether or not Fuji could stand to benefit from joining tw Telecom atop the MEF-CECP leaders lists in terms of future business dealings...but having an army of MEF-CECPs certainly means that it would make both companies better providers of Carrier Ethernet equipment and service respectively.

The MEF-CECP demonstrates that the professionals who have achieved the certification are truly Carrier Ethernet subject matter experts (i.e. its a really tough exam!).  That knowledge makes the company stronger by virtue of the expert professionals it emploes who can accurately and competetanty represent the products and services they design, build, sell and support.

So does MEF-CECP make both companies stronger competitors by commiting to put their professionals through it?  Absolutely! 

And for the individuals, it looks really good on the resume and that's a very handsome logo that goes on the business card/email signature!

[email protected] 9/2/2013 | 12:26:42 PM
Re: Stats tell us one of 2 things... In the case of TW Telecom and Fujitsu, though, does the current scenario suggest that Fujitsu miht stand a beter chance of landing some sort of engagement from TW Telecom should an RFP be in progress currently? Does this program provide any vendors with a greater chance of being able to respond favorably to service provider requirements?

Or is this mainly a career progressoin scenario for those with the certificates? 

craigeasley 9/2/2013 | 11:10:02 AM
Re: Stats tell us one of 2 things... Nice write up Dan and very interesting guesses into the "why" behind the stats Ray.

In reponse to a) The MEF-CECP is a brand new certification program and is only just not starting to hit its stride as the industry's first vendor neutral certification program. In fact the MEF-CECP is on pace or ahead of where some of the other vendor-oriented programs were statistically after the first year or so.

TW Telecom has recognized the value in sending their folks through the MEF-CECP certification in order to increase their Carrier Ethernet expertise and become more productive.  Fujitsu adopted the program, since the other significant telecom certification programs available are offered by their competitors!

As for b) Large companies have to look carefully at new industry certifications to ensure that the value justifies adopting them on a large scale.  In addition to the companies mentioned in the MEF-CECP press release, there are a growing number of tier 1 Service Providers and equipment vendors who have already or are in the process of adopting the program to develop their Carrier Ethernet focused professionals.

[email protected] 9/2/2013 | 10:45:34 AM
Stats tell us one of 2 things... The stats re TW Telecom/AT&T and Fujitsu/Cisco tell us that either:


a) The CECP program is not taken seriously enough by the whole sector

b) AT&T, Cisco and the others that don't have certified staff are missing a trick.


But which is it?
DOShea 8/30/2013 | 4:17:15 PM
Full disclosure Full disclosure: Heavy Reading has an affiliation with EthernetAcademy.net.
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