Comcast and Charter/Spectrum are two of four service providers that have received MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification from global standards body MEF. The MEF 3.0 SD-WAN standard, also known as MEF 70, defines key attributes of SD-WAN services. Service providers’ compliance with the standard has been confirmed using MEF’s draft SD-WAN certification test requirements.

The other two service providers that have received certification – PCCW Global and Telia Company — are based in other world regions.

“All four service providers are not just certified for services but are supporting that with . . . certified professionals,” said Stan Hubbard, communications and research director for MEF, referencing another MEF certification program in a briefing with Telecompetitor.

MEF SD-WAN Certification
While MEF initially focused on carrier Ethernet standards, the organization’s focus has broadened in recent years. MEF 3.0 standards encompass a broad set of network capabilities, including SD-WAN, IP, security services and others.

SD-WAN technology aims to make connectivity more economical, flexible and reliable by enabling enterprise customers to direct traffic over two or more connections based on network conditions, type of traffic and other parameters. Although SD-WAN initially was implemented by enterprises using customer premises equipment, many enterprises now purchase it as a managed service from a service provider.

MEF SD-WAN standards aim to bring a higher level of consistency to SD-WAN services. Hubbard pointed to Heavy Reading research that showed that 76% of enterprises considered certification to be important or critically important to SD-WAN service.

Source: MEF

When MEF looked for service providers to take part in a pilot involving the MEF 70 SD-WAN standard, the response was so strong that the organization had to be selective about who would participate. In selecting participants, MEF considered which providers were most enthusiastic and serious about prompt implementation, while also striving to include providers from different world regions and different equipment providers, said Marc Cohn, head of virtualization for testing provider Spirent, which worked with MEF on MEF 70 testing requirements.

MEF is currently talking to at least two dozen additional network operators and vendors about MEF 70 certification, Cohn said.

Moving Forward
MEF continues to deepen and broaden SD-WAN standards, noted Hubbard.

MEF 70.1 will address more service attributes, he said. In addition, service parameters for underlay connectivity will be more tightly coupled in that version of the standard.

The organization is targeting MEF 70.1 for final approval by the end of the year, Hubbard noted.

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