Can the Metro Ethernet Forum Supply the 'Third Network?'

By Juliana Kenny July 25, 2012

What if you could combine the reliability of the PSTN and the speed of the Internet? What if you did not have to compromise the quality of a connection over the PSTN with the ability to be mobile?

In his opening keynote speech for the NetEvents Americas in Miami this week, Nan Chen addressed this seemingly far-fetched notion. Chen is the President of the Metro Ethernet Forum, a group that works toward the global adoption of Carrier Ethernet services. He asked the audience, “Where do we see where we are going in terms of the global networking evolution? Is there the potential for a third network? If so, what is it going to be?”

The MEF has been addressing this question over the last several months, and has taken the first steps to enable the network that would fit this bill. The CE 2.0 solution from the MEF incorporates some of the vital building blocks Chen detailed are necessary for such a product.

One of the major points Chen touched on is the notion of service management. “You can badmouth the PSTN all you want, but, to date, we have not delivered such a quality-of-service mechanism. You pick up the phone, dial any number anywhere, and it connects. We are far from being able to deliver such an on-demand ability as with the PSTN.”

What the MEF’s CE 2.0 solution brings as well is the “industry’s first standardized multiple class-of-service capability,” according to Chen. Multi-CoS is a building block for application-aware services, and sets the direction for elastic, on-demand services, as he noted. This then ties into the ability of the network to integrate autonomous, Carrier Ethernet networks as a single regional and/or global network. It would pave the way for integrated wire-line and wireless converged networks and services, available anywhere.

The MEF’s goal appears to be to bring the simplicity of connection, the consistency, predictability, and reliability of the PSTN into functionality with the ubiquity, speed, and breadth of connectivity of the Internet. Its CE 2.0 solution might open the door for visibility into this service, eliminating the common problem users have with lagging access to the Internet while also making the service a common one.

“Wireless is just access technology,” said Chen. “There is a tremendous opportunity we see from an overall technology perspective to make the network continue to grow. We’ve been trying to build those blocks.” Chen sees this move as a way to revitalize wire-line businesses. CE 2.0 launched in February. Hang on to see its progress into 2013.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey

TechZone360 Managing Editor

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