MRV has recently joined MEF’s Managed Access E-line (MAEL) project. So, what is MAEL and why does MRV think it’s important?
In order to understand this, let’s first look at how a Carrier Ethernet service is constructed and managed today, in cases where the service is spanned across more than one operator network.
MEF uses the following terminology:
Service Provider – Offers the end-to-end service (UNI to UNI) to the customer.
Access Provider or Operator – Has infrastructure at the customer‘s location, and can sell a connectivity service to the service provider – from the customer’s premises, to the service provider’s network.
Access E-line Service – A point-to-point service sold by the access operator to the service provider and connects one UNI (at the customer premises) and one ENNI (where the service provider and access operator interact).
Picture 1 shows an example of an E-line service that spans across two operators. In this scenario, Operator A, who is an end-to-end service provider, needs to buy an Access E-line service from Operator B, in order to be able to offer a UNI to UNI service to the customer.
There are two main issues that complicate the implementation of multi-domain services and therefore prohibit their large-scale adoption:
- At the ENNI handoff, the service provider and the access operator need to translate their service policies. Their respective networks operate differently and, as a result, mapping parameters such as class of service, bandwidth profiles and OAM capabilities are required to maintain an end-to-end service SLA. This results in a lengthy and non-automated process.
- At the customer premises, each provider installs a Network Interface Device (NID) to implement the portion of their service. Since the service provider cannot access the access operator’s NID, they are forced to install their own, so the service quality and health can be properly monitored and issues can be mitigated before the end customer raises them.
The managed Access E-line implementation agreement aims to address the above two issues in order to expedite the service creation process and reduce its overall cost. The motivation is to specify a small set of Access E-Line services to which the provisioning process will be simplified, and the need for a service provider NID in addition to the access operator NID will be eliminated.
The implementation agreement thus adds two main layers on top of the existing MEF Access E-Line definition:
- Locking down parameters and eliminating variations to simplify and automate the provisioning and ordering process between the two operators at the ENNI. For example, only one CoS profile is allowed.
- Including key management functions and allowing the service provider to utilize these functions on the access provider’s NID. For example, SOAM, Latching Loopback, etc. As a consequence, the service provider will not be forced to place an additional NID at the customer premises.
The MEF project for Managed Access E-Line Services was approved in October 2015, targeted for Letter Ballot in April 2017 and is gaining a lot of traction from operators, among which are AT&T, Bell Canada, Telus, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Verizon , Zayo and more.
MRV understands the importance of this functionality to our customers and intends to comply as soon as the draft ratifies in its OptiSwitch® product line.