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MEF Takes On Mobile Backhaul

February 10th, 2012 by · 5 Comments

This week, the Metro Ethernet Forum dived into the problem of how to scale mobile backhaul. With LTE now ready to take off in earnest, scaling the costs needed to bring all that traffic to the backbone is an urgent issue for most wireless carriers. As you might suspect, the MEF’s solution involves using more Ethernet.

But not plain vanilla Ethernet, rather a newly standardized initiative called MEF 23.1 Multi-CoS, which leverages Carrier Ethernet’s ability to support multiple classes of service. The basic theme here is that while lots of backhaul has already gone Ethernet and more is doing so all the time, carriers faced with congestion are throwing bandwidth at it first and asking questions later.

Since the costs here are the key problem, the MEF is trying to standardize a smarter way to do it.  Using CoS is of course not a new idea, but if a standardized implementation catches on it gets easier to implement and maintain across the industry.  The MEF claims this initiative can save as much as 25% of the cost and make 3x revenue growth possible over the same infrastructure.

Of course, if you’re the one actually selling raw bandwidth to wireless carriers, you might prefer the current method dominate for a while yet. But in the end, if wireless carriers can scale their networks cost effectively, then perhaps they won’t need to throttle them and complain about those evil bandwidth hogs.

Categories: Ethernet · Wireless

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5 Comments So Far


  • EthernetGURU says:

    Why implement Classes of service if your never run your network into congestion???? Rate limit at the edge of your network and tag all traffic ingress traffic with the same COS and you never have do deal with customer’s calling asking why their traffic is dropping. The responsibility of traffic shaping then is the responsibility of your customer to implement traffic flows before the traffic enters your network.

    • mhammett says:

      That’s a little more difficult when the customer is a consumer handset.

      • EthernetGURU says:

        Not really. If the handset goes into a cell site router and they have used up their allocated bandwidth that they have purchased from the last mile provider, the the cell company buys more bandwidth from the last mile provider.

        • mhammett says:

          As a last mile provider myself, the last mile would be the leg between the tower and the handset. Are you referring to the middle mile provider?

          • EthernetGURU says:

            Yes, I’m referring to bandwidth the cellular provider purchases to backhaul their bandwidth from the cell tower.

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