Metro Ethernet Forum


The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) is a global industry consortium that develops technical standards and promotes the adoption of Carrier Ethernet services. Established in 2001, the MEF focuses on ensuring the interoperability and performance of communications networks based on Ethernet technology. By providing guidelines, specifications, and certifications, MEF aims to facilitate the global deployment of secure, scalable, and high-quality Ethernet networks and services.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) is a global industry consortium, founded in 2001, that focuses on the development, standardization, and promotion of Carrier Ethernet networks and services.
  2. MEF sets standards and certifications for service providers, equipment vendors, and individual professionals, ensuring interoperability and consistent performance across different Carrier Ethernet networks.
  3. Some key MEF initiatives include the Third Network vision, which aims to deliver agile, assured, and orchestrated connectivity services, as well as the MEF Lifecycle service orchestration, which simplifies the management of virtualized network services.


The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) is a crucial organization in the technology industry because it plays an essential role in establishing global standards, accelerating the adoption of Carrier Ethernet services and technologies, and fostering collaboration among members.

As a non-profit international consortium, MEF consists of telecommunications service providers, network equipment manufacturers, and other stakeholders that operate in the Carrier Ethernet ecosystem.

By defining standardized service specifications and certification guidelines, MEF helps ensure interoperability, scalability, and cost-effective service offerings in the rapidly evolving telecommunications landscape.

This, in turn, promotes the growth and innovation of carrier-grade Ethernet solutions, benefiting businesses and consumers alike by providing reliable and high-quality communication services.


The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) plays a vital role in the telecommunications industry as a global standards organization dedicated to promoting the adoption of Carrier Ethernet services. With its primary focus on the development and implementation of a wide range of rigorous technical standards, certifications, and best practices, MEF aims to facilitate the seamless interoperability between different network providers and equipment vendors.

The purpose of MEF is to ensure that the rapidly evolving landscape of communication technologies continues to expand and evolve in an efficient and coordinated manner. By doing so, MEF provides both network operators and end-users with the means to leverage the benefits of Carrier Ethernet, such as increased bandwidth, reliability, and scalability, which in turn contribute to the growth and success of a wide range of industries and sectors.

MEF’s contributions to the growth and expansion of Carrier Ethernet technologies include a comprehensive set of specifications, known as MEF Services, which define the technical attributes and requirements of various Ethernet-based offerings. Such standards pertain to Ethernet services, network architectures, performance objectives, and even the management and orchestration of Ethernet services.

By providing this clear and consistent framework, MEF helps businesses, governments, and other organizations seamlessly connect their networks to new and existing communication infrastructures and effectively meet the demands of today’s digital world. Furthermore, MEF also develops certifications for both professionals and equipment vendors, promoting the highest level of expertise and competence within the industry while ensuring compatibility between different components in the Ethernet ecosystem.

Examples of Metro Ethernet Forum

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) is a global non-profit industry consortium that defines standards and certifications for Ethernet services. The organization focuses on creating a framework for business Ethernet networks to increase their scalability, reliability, and security. Here are three real-world examples of MEF’s impact on the technology industry:Comcast Business – Comcast Business is a major telecommunications company in the United States that offers a comprehensive range of Ethernet services adhering to MEF standards. By implementing MEF-certified solutions, Comcast Business ensures its customers receive reliable and high-quality Ethernet services, enabling businesses to grow without worrying about network limitations.

Colt Technology Services – Colt Technology Services is a multinational telecommunications company that has achieved MEF0 certification, enabling them to provide Carrier Ethernet and other network services that meet or surpass the global standards set by the MEF. By adopting MEF

0 standards, Colt ensures that its customers receive best-in-class network services, promoting seamless connectivity and improved business agility.AT&T Switched Ethernet Service – AT&T, a leading communications company, offers an extensive range of network services, including its MEF-compliant Switched Ethernet Service. By incorporating MEF standards, AT&T delivers highly scalable, reliable, and secure Ethernet services for its customers. This allows businesses to focus on their core activities while AT&T guarantees consistent and dependable network performance.In summary, these real-world examples demonstrate how the Metro Ethernet Forum shapes and influences the way telecommunications companies provide Ethernet services, ensuring a globally consistent and high-quality experience for their users.

Metro Ethernet Forum FAQ

1. What is Metro Ethernet Forum?

Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) is a non-profit international industry consortium that focuses on the development and promotion of Carrier Ethernet global standards and services. Its mission is to accelerate the adoption of these services and ensure their interoperability to improve business connectivity and support digital transformation.

2. What are the types of services provided by Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)?

MEF defines various types of Carrier Ethernet services, such as:

  • E-Line: A point-to-point Ethernet connection between two User-Network Interfaces (UNIs).
  • E-LAN: A multipoint-to-multipoint Ethernet connection, connecting multiple UNIs as a single Ethernet domain.
  • E-Tree: A rooted multipoint Ethernet connection, allowing communication between a root UNI and several leaf UNIs without direct communication between the leaves.
  • E-Access: A wholesale service provided by an operator, connecting a single UNI to one or more external network-to-network interfaces (ENNIs).

3. What are the key objectives of the Metro Ethernet Forum?

The key objectives of the MEF are as follows:

  • Develop technical specifications for Carrier Ethernet standards to ensure interoperability and accelerate service adoption.
  • Promote ongoing collaboration with other global standards bodies, such as IEEE and ITU-T, to establish and evolve global standards.
  • Define and implement certification programs for Carrier Ethernet services, equipment, and professionals.
  • Facilitate a global ecosystem of Ethernet service providers, vendors, and customers to enable seamless connectivity and promote market growth.

4. Why is MEF certification important for Carrier Ethernet providers?

MEF certification is crucial for Carrier Ethernet providers because it ensures that their services and equipment meet the industry standards for interoperability, performance, reliability, and quality. By attaining MEF certification, providers demonstrate their commitment to these standards, which helps build trust with customers and partners. Additionally, certified providers can better compete in the global market, as they adhere to the highest industry standards for Carrier Ethernet services.

5. How is MEF contributing to the future evolution of networking technologies?

MEF is actively working on the development and standardization of emerging networking technologies to drive the industry forward. Currently, MEF is focusing on software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), and Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) for automated service delivery, assurance, and analytics. By developing standards and specifications for advanced networking services, MEF plays a crucial role in shaping the future of networking and digital transformation.

Related Technology Terms

  • Carrier Ethernet
  • MEF Standards
  • CE 2.0 Services
  • E-LAN
  • E-Access

Sources for More Information


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