MEF publishes the industry's first SD-WAN standard

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MEF has published the industry’s first global standard for SD-WAN that defines SD-WAN service and its service attributes.

MEF members approved the new standard, SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services (MEF 70), before being ratified by the MEF board of directors at its recent annual meeting. The SD-WAN service standardisation was carried out within the MEF 3.0 Global Services Framework, which forms part of initiative to define, deliver and certify a suite of carrier Ethernet, optical transport, IP, SD-WAN and security services orchestrated across automated networks using Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) APIs.

“We want to thank the SD-WAN team for the incredible job they have done in bringing this industry-first standard to market in a timely manner,” said Nan Chen, president of MEF. “Combining standardised SD-WAN services with dynamic high-speed underlay connectivity services – including carrier Ethernet, optical transport, and IP – enables service providers to deliver powerful MEF 3.0 hybrid networking solutions with unprecedented user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities.”

A number of companies have actively contributed to the standardisation process these include Nuage Networks from Nokia, Fujitsu Network Communications, Amdocs, Ceragon, Cisco, Colt, Futurewei, Silver Peak, TDS Telecom, Verizon, as well as other MEF member companies.

“We’re seeing a significant change in how customers are using SD-WAN now versus two years ago, and that evolution is what makes service standards from MEF so critical, said Roman Pacewicz, chief product officer, AT&T Business. “Today, and moving forward, SD-WAN is about delivering application performance. As the underlying networks — Optical Transport, Carrier Ethernet, and IP — are under greater pressure to be more ubiquitous, easy to provision, on-demand and elastic, that is where the MEF 3.0 construct comes into play.”

The standard outlines requirements for an application-aware, over-the-top WAN connectivity service that uses policies to decide how application flows are directed over multiple underlay networks regardless of the underlay technology or which service provider delivers them.

“Verizon is pleased to support MEF’s industry-leading SD-WAN standardisation work. SD-WAN is the way to interface policy with an intelligent software-defined network, and standardisation makes it easier for integration to work across multiple types of underlying transport services,” added Shawn Hakl, senior vice president business products, Verizon. “What that means for our end customers is it lets them get a better overall experience relative to their applications, with support for a broader range of use cases, guaranteed service resiliency, and improved service capabilities in an always on, always connected world.”

The benefits of such standardisation is that many stakeholders are able to use the same terminology when buying, selling, assessing, deploying and delivering SD-WAN services. Additionally, it make it easier to interface policy with intelligent underlay connectivity services to provide a better end-to-end application experience with guaranteed service resiliency.

"MEF 3.0 SD-WAN standardization is a critical contribution to the industry, helping eliminate obstacles to the market adoption of SD-WAN. MEF is committed to establishing a common terminology and set of standards for industry stakeholders.  We’re excited to see how this helps speed our customers transition from legacy to next generation SD-WAN networks like Comcast Business’s ActiveCore platform,” said Robert Victor, senior vice president of product management, Comcast Business.

Work has already begun on MEF 70.1, which seeks to define service attributes for application flow performance and business importance. In addition, it will outline SD-WAN service topology and connectivity, as well as underlay connectivity service parameters.

At the same time MEF is also starting work on application security for SD-WAN services, intent-based networking for SD-WAN, and information and data modelling standards.

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