The Third Network

By Mika Skarp

MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum) is embarking on a global road show for 2016 focused on what it calls The Third network. Described as Agile, Assured and Orchestrated, The Third Network promises to give users a dynamic connection that, in their words combines "the rich and immediate experience of the Internet with the performance and security of Carrier Ethernet."

On display from Sydney to London, from Santiago to Bangkok through 2016, the Third Network will find a truly global audience. But what is this dynamic network, and why is it needed?

Dynamic network development was already underway at MEF by the fall of 2012. We got a bird's eye view of the development earlier that year through a fascinating discussion with network visionary and rain maker Nan Chen in the spring of 2012.  It was clear then as it is today that the Cloud would be the distributed backbone of the internet, but there was a problem: the process for connecting clouds together was far too slow. While it takes weeks to establish an Ethernet connection from point A to point B, it takes seconds to configure a virtual machine.

Fast forward to 2016 and we see Software Defined Networks coming online in seconds thanks to the Service Operation Working Group that has finalized the process. Now it's time for the industry to roll these services out globally.

So what's next? The logical answer is the development and roll out of dynamic mobile networks as well. This is something that has been proposed for Release 14 in 3GPP, the accepted migration path to 5G. One way to realize the dream for the same kind of "agile, assured, orchestrated" as MEF's Third Network for mobile is the ability to enable Dynamic Profile Control. 

Cloudstreet provided the first successful demonstration of its patented DPC demonstrating how multiple mobile user devices could making machine-to-machine or manual requests for a dynamic (on-the-fly) profile change in a standard LTE Network. Working with the US Department of Commerce's PSCR (Public Safety Communications Research) program based at Boulder Labs, and FirstNet, the federally mandated first responders network, Cloudstreet had quietly landed a telecom technology first in perfect alignment with one of the core missions of 3GPP.  

If you are interested in finding out more about Cloudstreet and talking with us, feel free to get in touch, or join us at MWC2016 in Barcelona and see it yourself.