• United States

Ethernet reaches WAN milestone

Oct 14, 20032 mins

* Metro Ethernet Forum ratifies Ethernet service standard

Continuing the shift of Ethernet from a local-area technology to a wide-area technology, the Metro Ethernet Forum last week ratified an Ethernet service standard.

The MEF’s press release calls the standard’s ratification “a significant advance in Ethernet’s 30-year history.” While some may disagree with that characterization, it is the first time that Ethernet service capabilities have been established in any formal way.

MEF Technical Specification – Ethernet Services Model Phase 1 is the name of the standard, and its purpose is to put in place a framework that models how point-to-point and multipoint-to-multipoint Ethernet services should be delivered.

The next standard in the works is a Services Definitions specification, the forum says. The idea is to establish a common language and terminology among those implementing Ethernet services.

The idea behind Ethernet services is that they can be much simpler to use, from an end user’s perspective, than traditional WAN technologies. Translating data from Ethernet to frame relay or ATM and back to Ethernet is a task many companies would rather avoid. Cost is another driver, as Ethernet-based gear is expected to cost 40% less to service providers, the forum points out.

The forum says more than 50 providers are offering or about to offer Ethernet-delivered services.