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High bandwidth, high performance point-to-point connectivity services are becoming increasingly important to the service provider members of the MEF in order to meet the demands of large enterprises for applications such as data centre interconnect.  The MEF is addressing this need by being the only industry organization to work on the definition of standardized layer 1 services. Follow-on efforts will expand the LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) framework with support for automated L1 service ordering and configuration, enabling service providers to leverage the faster time-to-revenue and lower operating costs of MEF 3.0.

In 4Q 2016, the MEF launched a new project to define both Subscriber (UNI-to-UNI) and Operator (wholesale) L1 Services. The MEF membership is now working on a specification to rigorously define the attributes of a Subscriber L1 service for Ethernet and Fibre Channel client protocols, used in LAN and SAN extension for data centre interconnect, as well as SONET and SDH client protocols for legacy WAN services. In parallel, work is underway on a partner specification defining Operator L1 services between a UNI and OTN ENNI (access) and between OTN ENNIs (transit). This will provide the basis for streamlining the interconnection of multi-domain L1 services.

Although service offerings at layer 1 are available, service providers use their own terminology to describe them (e.g., “Wavelength Services” or “Optical Wavelength”) and they lack standardized service attribute definitions. This makes it difficult for subscribers to compare service offerings (e.g., performance). Subscribers will benefit from standardized layer 1 services in the same way as layer 2 Carrier Ethernet and layer 3 IP service offerings.

Similarly, due to the lack of standard layer 1 service definitions at an ENNI, the interconnection of layer 1 services between operators/service providers is done via adhoc agreements which are slow to establish, difficult to manage and impede the automation of end-to-end service delivery. Service providers and operators will benefit from standardized layer 1 service definitions for ENNI interconnection.

The Subscriber and Operator L1 Services technical specifications, in conjunction with follow-on projects by the MEF membership to enhance the LSO framework and associated open LSO APIs with L1 service capability, will enable service providers and operators to leverage the improved service delivery times of the agile, assured and orchestrated MEF 3.0 global services framework.