Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Metro Ethernet Forum Launches Service Provider Certification 14 Program

The Metro Ethernet Forum launched its MEF 14 Service Provider Certification Program as a means to help enterprises feel confident that their providers' Carrier Ethernet services can support mission critical and converged applications such as ERP, VoIP, videoconferencing and business continuity.

MEF 14 (Abstract Test Suite for Traffic Management) ensures conformance to the MEF Quality of Service attributes, which provides a foundation for the implementation of Service Provider operational and performance SLA's (Service Level Agreements) supporting simultaneous real-time and data-intensive business applications.

MEF 14 completes MEF 9 (Abstract Test Suite for Ethernet Services at the UNI) by adding requirements and test procedures for Service Performance and Bandwidth Profile Service Attributes defined in MEF 10. These include three EVC Related Performance Service Attributes - Frame Delay Performance, Frame Delay Variation Performance, and Frame Loss Ratio Performance -- as well as Bandwidth Profile Service Attributes defined per Ingress UNI, per EVC, and per Class of Service.

"MEF 14 certification testing is based on our Iometrix Test Plan for Traffic Management which has a total of 170 Test Cases covering EPL, EVPL and E-LAN services" according to Bob Mandeville -- President of Iometrix testing labs. "Service Providers' Carrier Ethernet must pass no less than 414 individual test cases before being granted MEF 9 and 14 certification."http://www.metroetherntforum.org

  • MEF 14 complements MEF 9 and covers two sets of MEF Service Attributes, namely "Service Performance" and "Bandwidth Profiles". The first set comprises three Service Performance attributes relating to the Ethernet Virtual Circuits (EVC): Frame delay, Frame delay variation and frame loss ratio. The second set, relating to the User Network Interface (UNI) and following the familiar example of Frame Relay, include four Bandwidth Profile attributes: CIR (Committed Information Rate), CBS (Committed Burst Size), EIR (Excess Information Rate), EBS (Excess Burst Size). Together MEF 9 and MEF 14 cover the complete set of Carrier Ethernet Service Attributes defined in the core definitional technical document MEF 10.

  • In April 2006, The Metro Ethernet Forum awarded certifications to seven service providers complying with its global Carrier Ethernet Service definitions. The companies receiving certification in this first round were: AT&T, Bell South, Cable Vision Lightpath (the first cable operator to apply), Met-Net, ntl:Telewest Business (the first European service provider to apply), Qwest and Verizon.

    Iometrix was the company responsible for the conformance testing.

    The testing involves three key stages. In the initial negotiation stage the service provider needs to prove to Iometrix that they do have a commercial Carrier Ethernet service offering that is certifiable according to any or all of Ethernet Private Line (EPL), Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) or ELAN (multipoint networking) definitions from the MEF 9 specification. This leads to the second phase, lab testing, where the service provider is required to construct a facsimile of the production network supporting their Carrier Ethernet service and then Iometrix run some 244 test cases on that system to pave the way for the third, field testing phase.

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