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Managing Editor

Multiservice marriage

Jul 23, 20042 mins
Data Center

Forums plan merger to unite work on ATM/frame/MPLS networking

The MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance and The ATM Forum plan to merge in an effort to synchronize their definitions of multiservice networking.

A single organization will create a unified industry association creating Implementation Agreements for multivendor, multiservice packet networks employing ATM, frame relay and MPLS. This will reduce the ambiguity vendors currently face with joint ATM and MPLS technology development, which should also reduce time to market, the organizations state.

Progress has often been hindered by competing standards organizations, the firms acknowledge. Plus, vendors and service providers will also have one less standards organization to staff.

The MPLS/Frame Alliance and ATM Forum have been working on this union for two years – the same amount of time it took for the Frame Relay Forum and MPLS Alliance to marry 18 months ago.

The members of each organization will be asked to approve the merger by the end of this quarter. Completion of the merger is expected by year-end, resulting in a combined membership of more than 100 companies representing service providers, equipment vendors, software and silicon suppliers, and enterprise end users.

The interim board of the merged forum will include representatives from Alcatel, Agilent Technologies, Bell Canada, Ericsson, Harris Corporation, Lucent Technologies, Riverstone Networks, Sprint, Tellabs and Verizon.

Managing Editor

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He covers enterprise networking infrastructure, including routers and switches. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy and at

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