Insights from Metro Ethernet Forum's Americas Summit in San Diego

Through the work of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and other Ethernet standards supporting bodies, Carrier Ethernet is becoming the dominant transport technology in global telecommunications. This week, the MEF introduced a new suite of certifications for Ethernet equipment manufacturers.

The new certification suite, labeled Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0), tests for elements of MEF standards important to Ethernet metro, regional and global networking. At the event, the MEF presented Tellabs with the Carrier Ethernet (CE) 2.0 certification for the Tellabs® 7100 Optical Transport System and the Tellabs® 7300 Metro Ethernet Switch series.

Carrier Ethernet has long been touted as the technology that would displace PDH, Frame Relay, SONET/SDH and other transport technologies in telecom. But strong industry growth didn’t come until service providers, working together in the MEF, agreed on how Ethernet services should be deployed.

 To this end, the original MEF certification, released back in 2005 and 2006, addressed items that would bring sanity to deploying Ethernet-based services. The first certifications addressed the user network interface (UNI) and base traffic management in a way that operators could widely deploy. Due to their great value, the original MEF certifications quickly became staple items in RFPs for Ethernet equipment. 

There are two significant trends occurring in the industry. These trends make the timing perfect for the second generation of MEF certification.

First, the good news trend—all of the industry’s predictions of Ethernet growth and its displacement of legacy technologies are coming true. Carrier Ethernet is on a steep exponential curve of growth and has huge momentum. Based on the insights of industry analysts, deployment of Carrier Ethernet services now exceeds all other carrier technologies combined, making it the dominant transport technology.

According to IDC, more than 1.2 billion new Ethernet ports were shipped in 2012 (400 million wired and 800 million wireless). Frost & Sullivan, Vertical Systems and Infonetics are predicting close to a $48 billion Ethernet services market by 2015. As per the infamous misquote of Everett Dirksen: “A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

It looks like sunny days are ahead…save for the second trend in the segment. Check this blog next week to learn more about what the future holds for Carrier Ethernet.