Metro Ethernet Forum notes progress

The Metro Ethernet Forum announced progress in defining technical specifications for metro Ethernet services and said that its membership ranks have swelled to 77 companies in less than a year.

The organization says its Metro Ethernet Protection Requirements 2.0 document has reached the straw ballot stage, the first forum document to do so. Straw ballot stage means 75 per cent of the member companies support the document and that it’s on the way to becoming a standard specification, says Nan Chen, president of the forum.

In addition, the forum’s Ethernet Services Definition reached the draft stage. This is the stage before straw ballot where significant additions and deletions are made before the straw ballot vote is cast, Chen says.

Ethernet Services Definition is one of 10 documents that moved to draft status at a recent meeting of the forum in New Orleans.

The Protection Framework describes a model and framework to deliver network protection services, including hitless restoration and end t end network protection, with recovery times as fast as 50 milliseconds, over metro Ethernet networks. The forum has proposed Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) as a method for providing 50ms recover time in metro Ethernet networks.

Ethernet Services Definition specify the primary metro Ethernet end product – service offerings at the request of service providers. To date, they include Ethernet Virtual Private Line Services (EVPLS), Ethernet Virtual Private LAN Services (EVPLnS) and Circuit Emulation Service (CES).

EVPLS is a point-to-point service that the forum says can replace today’s private lines and frame relay connections but with advantages in cost and bandwidth scalability. Like frame relay, EVPLS can also burst bandwidth beyond a committed information rate to maximize efficiency, Chen says.

EVPLnS allows connection of multiple sites as if they were on a single Ethernet. CES allows the transport of time division circuits over a metro Ethernet network.

Other work in progress includes definition of metro Ethernet quality-of-service, including mapping DiffServ markings to MPLS labels for transmission over a specific label switched path. Another is definition of a metro Ethernet user-to-network interface between devices at the customer edge and the provider edge, Chen says.

The forum was founded 11 months ago to promote and accelerate the adoption of metro Ethernet equipment and services. As part of that, the forum is defining specifications for Ethernet services and carrier-class transport, Chen says.

The forum also develops implementation and interoperability testing agreements among its service provider, carrier and equipment vendor members, Chen says.