mef16-advances-third-network-services-for-hyper-connected-world-and-digital-economyThe Third Network made quite the showing at the recent MEF16 global networking event in Baltimore. Hosted by MEF, MEF16 attracted more than 1,000 registrants from 30 countries and 260 companies. There were more than 120 sponsors, event partners and participating companies on hand as well.

“MEF16 provided an extraordinary opportunity for attendees to engage with world-leading service and technology innovators and to be inspired by their diligent efforts to usher in a new era of on-demand services that will reshape the communications landscape,” stated Kevin Vachon, Chief Operating Officer, MEF.

MEF16 brought together industry experts, service providers and others in order to share information about industry efforts that enable Third Network services. These emerging services provide an on-demand experience with user-directed control over service capabilities and cloud connectivity and delivered over automated, virtualized, and interconnected networks powered by LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration), SDN, NFV, and CE 2.0 (Carrier Ethernet 2.0).

MEF16’s themes were threefold:

Transition to Third Network Services Is Underway

Dozens of service providers are now offering orchestrated, on-demand connectivity and NFV-based services or are planning to do so within the next three years. At MEF16, several leading providers shared impressive examples of how their dynamic services are being positively received by customers. What’s more, many service experts discussed plans to evolve their portfolios and enable innovation by virtualizing and automating their networks.  Based on keynote presentations, panel discussions and survey data, the transition to Third Network services is well underway.

In support of this transition, MEF is expanding its work beyond static CE 2.0 services to drive the development of orchestrated Layer 1-3 connectivity services, (e.g., wavelengths, IP and CE 2.0) and orchestrated 4-7 cloud services like NFV-based security.

Industry progress in developing Third Network innovation was displayed at MEF16’s Proof of Concept Showcase, which featured 14 leading demonstrations of orchestrated services enabled by SDN, LSO, NFV, and CE 2.0.  Two teams received this year’s coveted PoC Awards:

  • Comcast Business, Sparkle, Tata Communications, ECI, and Viavi Solutions
  • CenturyLink, RAD and Ciena

The Industry is Supporting Standardized, Open-APIs to Orchestrate Services Over Multiple Provider Networks

To date, Third Network progress has involved delivering dynamic services over a single provider network. However, many senior service and technology experts used MEF16 as an opportunity to voice support for the MEF-inspired vision of orchestrating services over multiple provider networks in addition to  multiple technology domains within a provider network.

“One of the great themes coming out of the event was that service providers were talking about development of standardized, open APIs that would allow them to orchestrate inter-provider services in a machine-like, automated way,” explained MEF CTO Pascal Menezes.

“What we’re seeing from many service providers is that they are going through this Lifecycle Service Orchestration change,” Menezes added. “A number of the bigger operators are doing a great job of beginning to apply the LSO model within their own network footprints. And now we are talking about how we get to that inter-provider model. That’s the next stage.”

Development of Third Network Services Requires Close Collaboration of Open Source Organizations & Industry Standards

One key takeaway from the event was to assure and enable standardized Third Network services across multiple provider networks will require collaboration among multiple industry open source projects, standards organizations, and service and technology companies due to the enormous complexities which are involved. To maximize collaboration, MEF hosted its first UNITE Partner Summit at MEF16 bringing various groups together in one place.

MEF President Nan Chen proudly announced the availability of a new groundbreaking white paper, “An Industry Initiative For Third Generation Network and Services,” spearheaded by MEF CTO Menezes and co-authored by ON.Lab, ONOS, OPEN-O, OpenDaylight (ODL), the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), and TM Forum.

“This white paper represents a noteworthy milestone in uniting open source projects and standards organizations to deliver a common vision for Third Network services,” stated Chen. “I am really excited about the impact that this will have in moving the industry forward.”

MEF also hosted the 3rd LSO Hackathon at MEF16 to expedite the development of LSO-NFV-SDN-based solutions for Third Network services.

The LSO Hackathon focused on speeding development of LSO open APIs and standards, strengthening collaboration across standards organizations and open source projects, and creating more running code for contribution to the open source communities and to support reference implementations in MEF OpenCS (Open Connectivity Services) and OpenLSO (Open Lifecycle Service Orchestration) projects.

To learn more about MEF, click here.