Who Should Take the MEF-CECP Certification and Why Should They? (Part 2 of 3)

In the first part of this discussion, I gave you a bit of background and set up the problem: What does MEF-CECP Certification mean for our industry?

To quote Daniel (Bar-Lev), Director of MEFs Certification Programs “MEF-CECP is the only industry-body certification for Carrier Ethernet and it is a valuable way for both employers and end users to identify knowledgeable professionals. This is the first of a series of MEF-designed certifications for professionals, the next one being aimed at the less technical marketing and sales part of the Carrier Ethernet services market.”

It appears to be a generally accepted view that MEF CECP is for Carrier Ethernet professionals involved in the design, implementation, operations, and technical support of Carrier Ethernet services.

Indeed both Daniel and Azhar hold the view, which implies that (to quote Daniel) “… doubt that there are hundreds of thousands of Carrier Ethernet professionals in the market (yet) in the design, implementation, operations and technical support of Carrier Ethernet services.” I, however, believe that this is but one segment of the industry that can benefit from the MEF CECP. In fact, there are several other entire segments that will benefit immensely from it, as I now explain…

My view is that professionals involved in the design, architecture, development, coding, and building and testing of Carrier Ethernet chips and systems (ASICs/SOCs, sub-systems, switches, routers, packet-optical devices, …) and the associated software (OAM, platform software, protocols, and network management to OSS/BSS) need it as well. That is, staff at companies working on chips/ASICS, hardware, systems, software, testing, QoS capabilities would benefit immensely from MEF CECP certification.

This is because there are a vendors (chip and hardware, for instance) where the design and testing teams would be able to do their jobs much faster and better (instead of repeatedly pinging the few architects in the company that truly understand Carrier Ethernet principles (e.g. MEF 10.x, MEF 6)), if they had superior understanding of CE technology.

Also, they would be better able to design the chips/hardware, better able to test what was designed, and be able to debug problems much in advance aided by a thorough understanding of the technology they were working with (than a piecemeal, disjointed understanding acquired on a “need to know” basis, which looks great in the short term, but, at the end of the day, is pretty expensive for companies in the long run!

 [I would even go so far as to (throw a stake in the ground and) wager that for each week of delay in implementation/testing or launch of a project/software or product that a company (of halfway decent size) suffers, there is a loss of the order of US$25,000 to US$50,000 of productive capital that the enterprise could have channeled elsewhere (just the time value of money for time of 5-6 key engineers and support staff engaged for a week resolving a problem that would be solvable were everyone on the same page, speaking the same technical language, and with the same technical clarity on the subject, would amount to this; not to mention the attendant lossses that arise due to delayed project implementations).]

Chandra (from Vitesse) agreed that MEF certification is very useful for hardware teams, given the  types of architectural decisions they go through on Carrier Ethernet, and the consequent impact on their implementation, from design and verification to validation. This “helps to make complex decisions with relative ease and also spread the knowledge in a structured way, given the systematic exposure in the certification.”

A very similar argument applies to teams at system vendors or software providers, becasue the story is the same at these companies too. This is borne out by my own experience working with companies in these spaces, and seeing, first-hand, the seemingly “hidden” (but all too real) costs of the one-off or “need to know-basis” approach. I would argue that this applies even more to companies in emerging markets, where the amount of staff available to mentor those that need to come up to speed, is even more limited.

Let us now also take the segment Daniel was talking about. Namely, those involved in the design, implementation, operations and technical support of Carrier Ethernet services, which would be the operator personnel themselves but also professional services groups at vendors, VARs, integrators.

Here are some very rough numbers. Take a look at the US alone, there are at least several hundred rural/emerging operators, almost all of whom are today implementing or planning Carrier Ethernet-based services. There are close to 1000 cable operators nationwide, at least 20% of whom will offer services beyond just vanilla cable. Likewise, globally there are almost 800 wireless operators, at least half of whom (conservatively) will likely use Ethernet-based backhaul (and even more Ethernet with the advent of LTE), and will need Carrier Ethernet expertise in-house. So, the operators alone could be (conservatively) easily 600+ (taking for example, just the wireless operators plus MSOs plus rural operators and giving allowance for overlaps between them).

When we start to sum the vendors, VARs, and integrators, just the number of such companies would be well in the 100+ company range, possibly a whole lot more (maybe a multiple more).

So, even in the segment we traditionally think of of as one needing CECP qualifications, there might well be around 600-800 companies (carriers plus eco-system players with professional services) with need for Carrier Ethernet expertise. At a conservative 20 employees per company (on average) needing to know Carrier Ethernet well, we’re talking 12,000 to 16,000 professionals that will benefit from CECP certification, and that’s in the “regular” segment that people think about.

What happens when we add to this number, the demographic that I pointed out above?  We’ll cover that in Part 3 of this series.

For Part 1 of this series, click here!


Metanoia, Inc. has consistently been a leader in bringing the eco-system’s focus to carrier-centric issues. If you would like to contribute to, participate in, or have a suggestion about our recent initiatives, write us at initiatives@metanoia-inc.com or comment on this blog. To be involved in the current ongoing discourse, write to Dr. Vishal Sharma at vsharma@metanoia-inc.comor call +1 650-641-0082. 

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