Tuesday, August 30, 2005

MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance and the ATM Forum Complete Merger

The MFA Forum, the new organization formed through the merger of the MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance and the ATM Forum, held its first meeting last month in Ottawa. The merged group will focus on optimizing and interworking the three primary telecoms transport technologies -- ATM, MPLS & Frame Relay -- in a unified and streamlined technical committee and on representing the industry with a single voice.

"The first meeting of the MFA Forum was a great success," said Andrew G. Malis of Tellabs, and president and chairman of the MFA Forum. "With input from our Service Providers and forward movement from our technical committees, the MFA Forum is contributing to the industry by driving the convergence of multi-services networking technologies -- ATM, FR, and TDM -- over IP/MPLS."

The MFA Forum is nearing completion of Interoperability Agreements (IAs) addressing ATM and Frame Relay to MPLS Control Plane Interworking, and extensions to the ATM Signaling protocol to support high-speed connection greater than seven Gigabits per second (Gbps).

A final implementation agreement on ATM and Frame Relay to MPLS Control Plane Interworking is expected by the end of 2005. The proposed IA requires no changes to the existing ATM infrastructure; instead it will simplify migration from ATM to next-generation IP/MPLS-based packet networks. The agreement protects carrier investment in current services and their revenue streams while enabling emerging IP applications and services. A final implementation agreement expected by the end of 2005.

The High Speed Connection work project is aimed at accommodating data transfer between storage servers. High-end servers have the ability to push out 10 Gbps; this IA will allow those servers to get the most from their 10G links when ATM is part of the network solution.

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