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Announcing MEF 3.0

MEF 3.0 is a Transformational Global Services Framework for defining, delivering, and certifying agile, assured, and orchestrated communication services across a global ecosystem of automated networks. MEF 3.0 services empower users with the dynamic performance and security required to thrive in the digital economy.

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The standards environment has transformed to one where Open Source software development forms an integral part of the lifecycle of a standard. It is now essential to bridge between the work of standards development organizations and the newer Open Source projects to ensure alignment of the solutions developed in Open Source, and the underlying standards requirements. MEF's OpenLSO and OpenCS initiatives are the frameworks that enable convergence on standard requirements to create robust and interoperable Open Source solutions.

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The MEF is the driving force enabling agile, assured, and orchestrated Third Network services with user-directed control over service capabilities and cloud connectivity. Third Network services are delivered over automated, virtualized, and interconnected networks globally powered by LSO, SDN, NFV, and CE 2.0.

The MEF's mission is to accelerate the worldwide...

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MEF is the driving force enabling agile, assured, and orchestrated Third Network services for the digital economy and the hyper-connected world.

MEF in the News

We spotlight new, hot items of interest related to MEF 3.0, Lifecycle Services Orchestration (LSO), and work taking place on Open Initiatives.


The MEF Technical & Operations Committee has published 55 technical specifications and implementation agreements to effect standardization, interoperability and accelerate...


The MEF's Professional Certification program identifies the industry's leading professionals and showcases expertise and excellence in technological knowledge and ...


The MEF Services Certification Program enables service providers to certify that their Carrier Ethernet services comply with the highest industry standards


The MEF Equipment Certification Program enables network equipment manufacturers to certify that their Carrier Ethernet products comply with the relevant MEF specifications...


MEF hosts webinars on a variety of topics related to its Third Network vision, LSO, SDN and NFV.


Our Seminars focus on exciting MEF-led industry initiatives to build a global ecosystem of connected networks supporting orchestration of dynamic services ...


MEF is please to host the MEF18 global networking event, 29 October - 1 November 2018, Los Angeles, CA USA...

Winning Strategies for Preparing MEF 2017 Award Submissions

Winning Strategies for Preparing MEF 2017 Award Submissions

The MEF 2017 Awards program is open for entries until September 13, 2017. This prestigious program recognizes excellence in the Third Network and Carrier Ethernet community that creates innovative solutions optimized for the digital economy and hyper-connected world. This webinar will cover the 40 MEF award categories, important dates, how to use the awards submissions portal, and tips for writing concise, compelling submissions.

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An Industry Initiative for Third Generation Network and Services

An Industry Initiative for Third Generation Network and Services

This paper describes an industry vision for the evolution and transformation of network connectivity services and the networks used to deliver them. The MEF refers to this vision as the “Third Network” where the Third Network combines the on-demand agility and ubiquity of the Internet with the performance and security assurances of today’s business grade networks (i.e.: Carrier Ethernet 2.0 and MPLS).

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Orlando, Florida USA, 13-16 November 2017

Orlando, Florida USA, 13-16 November 2017

MEF announces that it will be hosting the MEF17 (www.MEF17.com) global networking event, 13-16 November 2017, at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort in Orlando, Florida USA. With a target audience of 1,000+ attendees from 275+ companies and 35+ countries, MEF17 is the world’s premier networking opportunity for executives and other senior service and technology professionals who want to keep on top of the latest innovations that are reshaping the communications landscape.

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Specifications published by MEF are intended for general distribution to the public and may be downloaded from this site and reproduced without charge.

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Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO): Reference Architecture and Framework

Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO): Reference Architecture and Framework

LSO is an agile approach to streamlining and automating the service lifecycle in a sustainable fashion for coordinated management and control across all network domains responsible for delivering an end-to-end Connectivity Service (e.g., Carrier Ethernet, IP VPN, MPLS, etc.). This document describes a Reference Architecture and Framework for orchestrating the service lifecycle.

Interface Profile Specification – Service Configuration and Activation

Interface Profile Specification – Service Configuration and Activation

This Interface Profile Specification specifies Legato Management Interface in support of MEF 6.2 Services and is a realization of relevant classes from MEF 7.3 Information Model. The LEGATO_SCA Interface is for use at a Service Orchestrator Function for interfacing with Business Applications as described in MEF LSO RA and process for Service Configuration & Activation.

Ethernet Ordering Technical Specification - Business Requirements and Use Cases

Ethernet Ordering Technical Specification - Business Requirements and Use Cases

This document represents the cumulative work between MEF and ATIS Ordering and Billing Forum (OBF) to identify the common ordering attributes and processes needed to support inter-carrier Product Ordering of Ethernet Services worldwide. This document supports the requirements defined in the MEF Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Reference Architecture and Framework (MEF 55, LSO RA) requirements for Ordering over the Sonata interface (Service Provider <-> Partner interactions).

MEF’s new white paper "Understanding SD-WAN Managed Services" introduces terminology for different SD-WAN managed service components and illustrates how they fit into MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Reference Architecture (RA) to facilitate multi-vendor interoperability and operational agility through use case examples.

As networks globally transform themselves into an on-demand and real-time set of programmable systems, many applications are moving to the cloud as an IT utility for a globalized and mobile workforce. The advancements of Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Carrier Ethernet (CE) have proven to deliver a business grade private Wide Area Network (WAN) for enterprises worldwide, yet challenges persist. The time it takes to bring up new sites and interconnecting sites or public or private clouds has increasingly become an issue. Today it can take many months to enable a multi-national business to connect various sites globally to each other or to their public and private clouds. Additionally, services changes, even just bandwidth changes, can often take weeks because they involve manual workflow-based processes that are unacceptable for a society now accustomed to on-demand cloud-based applications and services. Software-Defined WANs (SD WANs) have emerged as one such solution to address these issues.

Key Business Drivers and Market Opportunities

In 2016, MEF and Vertical Systems Group published a report (available exclusively to MEF members) of survey results from respondents representing 50 service providers and 37 technology providers with participants responsible for product management and planning, product marketing, network/systems architecture, and engineering. The survey focused on dynamic network connectivity services, such as SD-WAN services, that enable customers to directly control their network resources on demand. Figure 1 indicates the top 5 purchasing drivers and top 5 deployment challenges when trying to deliver dynamic connectivity services.

SD-WAN: Threat or Opportunity

Some CSPs and MSPs may view SD-WAN as a threat to their existing connectivity services such as MPLS VPNs. In January 2017, MEF and Vertical Systems published a report of 58% service provider and 42% technology provider respondents with job responsibilities including product management, product planning, product/technology development, network/systems architecture, engineering, and professional services. In the report only 4% of respondents viewed SD WAN as a competitive threat while 45% viewed SD-WAN as a strategic opportunity. 37% viewed SD-WAN as both an opportunity and threat.

Fundamental Characteristics of SD-WANs

No industry standard definition exists for an SD-WAN. SD-WAN implementations have incorporated WAN technologies and functions that have been developed over the years such as VPN, WAN Optimization, IPsec tunneling, hybrid WAN, deep packet inspection, policy management, QoS performance monitoring and analytics while incorporating newer SDN, NFV, and Service Orchestration technologies. The latter three technologies provide the integration and service deployment automation that has made SD-WAN Managed Services so compelling. SD-WAN Managed Services are a specific use case for a MEF Third Network service using overlay networking technologies to deliver agile, assured and orchestrated application-driven connectivity services.

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SD-WAN Service Components

The SD-WAN managed service components include the following. The MEF is further defining these components so this paper will provide some high level functionality. Subsequent MEF publications will articulate more details as they are further defined. This section will illustrate where each of these service components fit into MEF’s LSO Reference Architecture.

  • SD-WAN Edge
  • SD-WAN Controller
  • Service Orchestrator
  • SD-WAN Gateway
  • Subscriber Web Portal

Using the generalized MEF LSO Reference Architecture from Figure 2, we can overlay each of the SD-WAN Service Components to understand their placement in the architecture and the associated LSO RA interfaces with which they must interact. To simplify the discussion, this paper will only discuss a single provider domain and thus not discuss the Sonata and Interlude interfaces which are used for inter-provider communications.

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SD-WAN Managed Service Use Cases in the LSO Reference Architecture

A number of use cases support the development of implementation of SD-WANs.

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While the networking industry is embracing SD-WANs but SD-WAN terminology, deployment scenarios, solution architectures, and open, standardized APIs have yet to be standardized. A common SD-WAN vernacular would enables buyers, sellers and users to more effectively communicate requirements and intent while open, standard APIs facilitate and accelerate SD-WAN implementations. SD-WAN benefits for service providers and subscribers are many. CSPs and MSPs are working towards introducing SD-WAN managed services to address enterprises’ desire to outsource their managed network services.

MEF views SD-WAN managed services as a specific use case delivering on its Third Network vision of agile, assured and orchestrated connectivity services. MEF has created SD-WAN service projects to educate the market and build reference implementations using open, standard LSO APIs. This paper introduces some of this work. More will be introduced including Proof of Concept showcases demonstrating different SD-WAN reference implementations using LSO APIs plus additional market education through webinars, white papers and workshops at industry events.


Resources For Evolving To Third Network Services

MEF has published a series of white papers to help CE service providers make a smooth transition to Third Network services that are orchestrated and assured over combined physical and virtual networks.  These include: