Cable operators may be somewhat new to the world of carrier Ethernet services when compared to the telcos, but on Tuesday the cable industry was in lockstep with the competition.

The Metro Ethernet Forum announced yesterday that the first group of service providers has been certified for MEF 14. The MEF 14 certification ensures conformance to the MEF Quality of Service attributes-a requirement of SLAs (Service Level Agreements) supporting simultaneous real-time and data-intensive business applications.

Among the 11 service providers to garner MEF 14 certification there were four cable operators: Time Warner Cable, Cablevision‘s Optimum Lightpath, RCN and NTL Telewest.

"It’s great to see cable in this first wave," said Louise Wasilewski, co-chair of marketing, Metro Ethernet Forum. "It means that cable is an equal player in the delivery of Ethernet services, both within the U.S. and on a global basis."

AT&T, COLT, Embarq, Swisscom, Verizon and VSNL International were also certified for Carrier Ethernet services compliant with MEF 14 – Abstract Test Suite for Traffic Management. Iometrix conducted the certification over 48 consecutive business week hours with the testing of each of the 37 services submitted, based on a test plan comprising 170 test cases. Iometrix performed the testing over a three-month period.

Tuesday’s news followed on the heels of Monday’s announcement that CableLabs, Comcast Communications, Suddenlink and Bright House Networks were the latest cable companies to join the Metro Ethernet Forum. Interest "Certainly MSOs are interested in certification, and CableLabs is working to help MSOs come up with interoperable interfaces for Layer 2 VPNs," said Charles Bergren, CableLabs engineer, during a break at yesterday’s Metro Ethernet Forum Seminar in Orlando, which was part of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo’s first day of activities. "Towards that end, we’re working with the MEF on specifications and working with MSOs who are working with the MEF."

Bergren was a panelist during the "Carrier Ethernet over HFC in the Access" session at the MEF forum. Bergren said the initial phase for CableLabs is making sure that all of the cable operators, MEF and CableLabs work from the same playbook when it comes to deploying services.

"We’re working with the MSOs on interoperability, and we’re working with vendors on Layer 2 VPN interoperability," Bergren said. "We’re working with MEF specification teams to align our technical roadmaps toward the most efficient operations for all of the parties. We want to make sure that specifications evolve efficiently and on time."

The goal initially at CableLabs is to help MSOs offer e-line services, such as Layer 2 VPNs, within in their own footprints. The later phases include offering e-line and e-LAN services to multiple user network interfaces. Keynote Tom Staniec, Time Warner Cable’s vice president, transport network engineering, started the MEF training day with his keynote address.

"What MEF means to Time Warner is that it guarantees that subscribers can confidently order Ethernet services that conform to MEF specifications," Staniec said. "It also ensures interoperability of services among providers." – Mike Robuck

The Daily

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