Wednesday, February 10, 2010

MEF Ratifies External Network to Network Interface (ENNI) Spec

The MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum) ratified of first phase of an External Network to Network Interface (ENNI) specification, which standardizes the reference point between service providers' MEF Certified Carrier Ethernet networks and services.

The new specification (MEF 26)is expected to accelerate the tedious process of matching different providers' Carrier Ethernet services. By supporting standardized interconnect and Ethernet services spanning multiple-operator Ethernet networks, and bringing issues such as CoS, SLAs and management into line, the ENNI is expected to open new business opportunities for service providers and vendors.

MEF 26 ratification covers connection for both E-Line (point to point) and E-LAN (multipoint to multipoint) services ensuring that when two or more services certified to MEF specifications are connected, then the resulting link will also meet MEF specifications. End-to-end Class of Service levels and Operations Administration and Maintenance (OAM) will be maintained, and the protection of the ENNI is built into this standard.

Wholesale service providers could use MEF 26 to upgrade their basic Ethernet connectivity services to fully featured Carrier Ethernet networks interconnecting with multiple service providers. In the market for mobile backhaul connectivity, MEF 26 makes it possible for local providers to interconnect their networks to provide a solution and reach into a growing market.

The Metro Ethernet Forum said another significant development is ENNI's potential to facilitate deployment in the emerging Carrier Ethernet Exchange market. Recently launched Ethernet Exchanges offer a multi-lateral complement to the bilateral one-to-one connections between service providers. Instead of having to establish and maintain their own network and service connections, service providers benefit from scalability and greater flexibility of a managed exchange without the escalating cost and complexity of managing multiple links to multiple provider partners.

  • In November 2009, CENX (Carrier Ethernet Neutral eXchange), a start-up headed by MEF President Nan Chen, opened three Carrier Ethernet Exchanges in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The carrier neutral, co-location/data-center neutral CENX Carrier Ethernet Exchanges aim to streamline the problem of interconnecting various Carrier Ethernet services.

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