ATIS, MEF create a new global Carrier Ethernet services standard

11 September 2017 | Natalie Bannerman


ATIS, in joint partnership with MEF, has announced the release of a specification that standardises the process for ordering Carrier Ethernet services globally.

atis - MEF 280 x 420The standard, called 'Ethernet Ordering Technical Specification: Business Requirements and Use Cases', is what some have said is a step towards automated and interconnected networks.

According to ATIS president and CEO Susan Miller: “This new joint specification transforms the Ethernet ordering process globally, thus enabling faster delivery of interconnected networks. It makes the ordering process easier for customers while also advancing service provider business imperatives in this area. ATIS is proud to deliver another of our contributions from our collaboration with MEF.”

The new specification supports requirements defined in the Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Reference Architecture and Framework, a standard for ordering services over the LSO Sonata interface that relates to having inter-provider service. Information contained in the new specification will be used by both buyer and seller ordering systems for developing automated LSO API systems.

“MEF is pleased to work with ATIS to deliver a new ordering specification that will improve inter-provider operational efficiencies, enable service providers to be more responsive to customer demands, and help drive market growth on a worldwide basis,” added Kevin Vachon, COO at MEF. 

Focussing on specific business interactions associated with inter-carrier ordering of various wholesale carrier products, including use cases and specific MEF-defined attributes needed to support product ordering for each use case.

Details for implementation will be published separately later this year in MEF’s LSO Sonata Interface Profile Specification for Ethernet Ordering. In addition, both ATIS and MEF plan on releasing further expansions on the ordering standardisation process to incorporate additional MEF-defined services.

Dawn Kaplan, MEF operations area co-director and solutions architect – CoE OSS for Ericsson, said: “Today’s process is very provider-specific, and inter-carrier ordering is done either through spreadsheets or one-off solutions. Defining a standardised process for ordering Carrier Ethernet products across service provider partner domains is critical to significantly streamlining the buying/selling process and thus enabling improved delivery time of interconnected networks.” 

Letty Walker, senior lead analyst of OSS & technical support, CenturyLink, ATIS OBF OS co-chair and joint ATIS-MEF co-lead, added: "Given that ATIS has such broad ordering experience throughout North America, I feel that partnering with our MEF counterparts has led to a collaboration that will provide the framework for a unified platform defining requirements for Ethernet ordering throughout the entire international telecommunications community.”

In an exclusive talk with Capacity, Letty Walker and Dawn Kaplan admitted that the biggest challenge during this process was trying to understand the various labels, jargon, typologies etc in order to bring them together in one standard form. 

They also said that the response to the project as received via their MEF Hackathon the annual event for open source community developers and Carrier Ethernet services networking experts, has been overwhelming positive as they are addressing a real need, adding that although interconnection was identified as the biggest priority on the network, that other services like e-transit and additional specifications that align with this specification will be worked on in the near future.

To find out more about the current state of play with Carrier Ethernet and new technologies, read the Carrier Ethernet special report in the latest issue of the Capacity magazine.