MEF publishes new Ethernet Interconnect Point implementation agreement

13 April 2016 |


MEF announces the publication of the Ethernet Interconnect Point (EIP) implementation agreement.

This is designed to standardise interconnections between Carrier Networks and define collaborative working methods for partner organisations.

This implementation agreement (IA) is designed to streamline the interconnection of operator networks to support end-to-end Carrier Ethernet (CE) services. The IA provides practical guidance so that operators can evolve their networks to meet full CE 2.0 E-Access interconnection capabilities. The IA provides operators with the steps needed to create these new interconnections. This IA represents the completion of Phase 1 of the MEF EIP project.

“The purpose of the EIP project is to produce a series of implementation agreements/ guidelines to create a more efficient marketplace of interconnected operators offering standardized CE 2.0 services that interoperate effectively over two or more networks,” said Nan Chen, president of the MEF. “EIP progress is key to future industry growth and innovation because widely deployed and interconnected CE 2.0 networking fabrics will form the foundation upon which to build agile, assured, and orchestrated Third Network services.”

“More than a dozen MEF member companies participated in Phase 1 of the EIP project that included Rapid Prototype testing at the University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Lab,” said Chen. “We want to thank these companies for contributing to moving the industry forward: AT&T, Verizon, Windstream, CenturyLink, Frontier, TelePacific, Accedian, Alcatel-Lucent (Nokia), Canoga Perkins, Ciena, Cisco, Juniper, RAD, and Veryx Technologies.”

The global Carrier Ethernet services market is approximately $50 billion and growing steadily. MEF observed that operators were finding great difficulty interconnecting their networks in a consistent and easily replicable manner and created a group of partner organisations to address this.

Although the MEF has created multiple specifications to pave the way toward standardized “plug-and-play” CE 2.0 interconnections, most operators still use non-standard, custom-built, network-to-network interconnections (NNIs) that are slow and costly to set up. The MEF is attempting to speed-up the process of standardisation and tackle the key obstacles. The EIP project - rival operators under one roof, in a test-bed environment, focussed on resolving obstacles together for the common good – is another step forward for MEF’s methodology.

“Our goal is to enable operators to make informed decisions and take the next step on their journey toward standardized interconnects,” said Dan Blemings, director of Ethernet Product Management, AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions. “A growing community of operators using efficient and scalable Ethernet  interconnections will  cut provisioning times, eliminate the need for operators to certify each other, and make it easier to deliver CE 2.0 services to more locations outside their footprints.”

Today’s announcement sees the end of phase 1 of the project and included the most basic interconnection possible: an Ethernet Private Line created using two E-Access EPL services from different operators with an ENNI interconnect between them.

Bruce Eldridge, principal architect of CenturyLink Business at CenturyLink said: “CenturyLink anticipates that the IA framework of interoperability will enhance serviceability, service functionality, product development, ordering and operating efficiencies related to provisioning multi-provider Ethernet services.”

Dave Zahn, senior vice president marketing at TelePacific said: “EIP is a careful and rigorous effort in standards development to deliver the next-generation environment that our unified communications, data networking and managed services solutions need to meet our customers’ rapidly evolving requirements across multiple carrier networks." 

Phase 2 – which has just started – will add test cases with greater complexity and new use cases focused on EVPL and E-Transit (EPL and EVPL). Additional considerations include color awareness, Class of Service, end-to-end service OAM, and lifecycle service orchestration (LSO).