What is the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)?

The MEF is a global industry alliance comprising more than 150 organisations that aim to accelerate the worldwide adoption of carrier class ethernet networks and services.

The MEF develops technical specifications and implementation agreements to promote interoperability and deployment of Carrier Ethernet worldwide. This is a ubiquitous, standardised, carrier-class service that distinguishes it from familiar LAN-based Ethernet.

MEF Members include large international telcos such as AT&T, Verizon and Orange (France Telecom) and networking vendors such as Cisco, Alcatel and Ericsson.


PIPE Networks chose to seek certification for its PipeEthernet® services to provide industry leading service quality to our customers.

Traditionally, Ethernet services have been purchased because of their price competitiveness and not because they typify high quality or high performance. In fact the most demanding users have preferred technologies such ATM, Frame Relay and X.163 that have a guaranteed quality of service.

PipeEthernet® services are certified to the MEF 9 Carrier Ethernet standard. This standard provides the framework to deliver Ethernet services that have been designed by the best Ethernet minds in the world. Carrier Ethernet features industry leading performance, features and security designed specifically for wide area Ethernet and as such is now a true replacement for legacy services such as Frame Relay and ATM.

The MEF have created a new language to describe Wide Area Ethernet. Previously providing a detailed Ethernet service specification has been very difficult due to common Ethernet being a Local Area Network (LAN) technology and not having enough well defined terms to properly describe the service when used in a Wide Area Network (WAN) environment. This new language allows for detailed and unambiguous service specifications ensuring that you get what you need and what you pay for.

Carrier Ethernet

Carrier Ethernet is a ubiquitous, standardized, carrier-class service defined by five attributes that distinguish it from familiar LAN based Ethernet.

Carrier Ethernet offers the following benefits:

  • Standardised Services:
    E-Line and E-LAN provide transparent, private line, virtual private line and LAN services ideally suited to converged voice, video & data networks.
  • Scalability:
    Scalability of bandwidth from 1 Mbps to 10 Gbps and beyond, in granular increments.
  • Reliability:
    The ability for the network to detect & recover from incidents without impacting users, with recovery times sub 50ms.
  • Quality of Service:
    Services that deliver end-to-end performance matching the requirements for voice, video and data over converged business networks.
  • Service Management:
    A network managed to carrier-class standards.

Why MEF Certification is Important?

The lack of standards for ethernet services has resulted in varying quality, reliability and incompatibility among providers. MEF compliant services adhere to stringent technical specifications and deployment guidelines that provide a level of consumer confidence that has been previously unattainable.

The MEF accreditation is an assurance of service quality and guarantees the ability to interoperate with other providers. Customers who purchase a MEF certified products benefit from full specification disclosure and the knowledge that the product they are purchasing has been designed and deployed to MEF standards.