What is Carrier Ethernet?
Carrier Ethernet is a version of Ethernet. It is overseen by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), which has an official definition for the technology. The MEF defines Carrier Ethernet as: 'an ubiquitous, standardized carrier-class service and network that is defined by five attributes that distinguish Carrier Ethernet from the well-known LAN-based Ethernet.'
The five distinguishing attributes are:
- Standardized services
- Service quality
- service management
You can think of Carrier Ethernet as a bridge that balances the benefits of Ethernet with the needs of service providers.
Early Ethernet services were based on standard Ethernet switches and IEEE standards 802.1 (a) and (d). These services had to face challenges such as restricted traffic technology, insufficient scalability, restricted service quality and limited protection. These disadvantages led to the development of Carrier Ethernet. Operators around the world are using Carrier Ethernet to support Ethernet enterprise services and triple play services for households.
There are over 30 technical specifications that provide Carrier Ethernet with precise definitions. These specifications are reviewed by the MEF, which works closely with industry and other standardization bodies. In order for a product or service to be able to claim the title 'Carrier Ethernet', it must be certified by the MEF.