MEF and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions released a standard aimed at making it easier to order Carrier Ethernet services. The new MEF/ ATIS Carrier Ethernet standard, “Ethernet Ordering Technical Specification: Business Requirements and Use Cases,” is an effort to put universal ordering mechanisms in place.

Carriers as a matter of course make deals with other carriers to transport and terminate customer connections. Doing this in a non-standard way — without a deeply detailed understanding of how such connections are made, charged for and administered — is inefficient and eventually will limit the category’s growth.

MEF/ ATIS Carrier Ethernet Standard
“This new joint specification transforms the Ethernet ordering process globally, thus enabling faster delivery of interconnected networks,” said ATIS President and CEO Susan Miller in a press release. “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 specification is based on ordering Access E-Line and Standalone UNI products defined in the Lifecycle Service Orchestration Reference Architecture and Framework, MEF and ATIS said. This document, MEF 55, addresses ordering of services on the LSO Sonata interface in the context of inter-provider service orchestration. The goal is to enable these transactions to be conducted in an agile, assured and orchestrated manner worldwide that honors service level agreements (SLAs) and other elements of carriers’ agreements with their customers.

This is as complex as it sounds. The goal, however, is straightforward: The process must be simplified and codified worldwide for CE to succeed. “Today’s process is very provider-specific, and inter-carrier ordering is done either through spreadsheets or one-off solutions,” said Dawn Kaplan, MEF Operations Area Co-Director and Solutions Architect – CoE OSS for Ericsson in the press release. “Defining a standardized 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.

Last month, the Vertical Systems Group said that eight carriers have 4% or more of the U.S. CE market. They are, in order of these holdings, AT&T, Level 3, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprises (Charter), CenturyLink, Comcast, Windstream and Cox.

Image courtesy of flickr user Yuri Samoilov.