The Internet is evolving at a dizzying pace. In 2009, it was estimated that the entire World Wide Web contained close to 500 exabytes of data. That’s a lot of information, but it still represents only half a zettabyte, the anticipated volume by 2015. How can such a massive amount of bytes be managed in way that doesn’t lead to bottlenecks and delays?
Mohammad Nurujjaman, a Concordia PhD student, has some answers. This fall, he became the first student from a university anywhere in the world to become an MEF-CECP Carrier Ethernet professional. With this certification, he is abreast of what he calls “the connection between the theoretical research and implementation” of telecommunications networks that can move data quickly and at low cost.
This emerging technnology is based on the unassuming Ethernet cable. First developed in the 1970s, the Ethernet cable is familiar to anyone who has an Internet connection. It’s the cord that plugs into a router or directly into the back of a desktop computer.
Nurujjaman explains that until recently, Ethernet was limited to Local Area Networks (LAN), Internet networks within a business or home. But the new generation Carrier Ethernet goes much further. It forms part of the “backbone” of the Internet – the network that extends beyond buildings and eventually converges with the fibre optic cables that connect countries and continents.
“This is a competitive technology,” Nurujjaman says. “It is very fast-growing. Standardization will be key, so design optimization is also key.”
This is where Nurujjaman’s expertise, training and newly-acquired credentials will be indispensable. Currently wrapping up his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Chadi Assi from the Concordia Institute of Information Systems Engineering, in his future career, Nurujjaman will be ideally placed to help with efficient and cost-effective network design for clients who are implementing Carrier Ethernet services.
Nurujjaman decided to obtain his MEF-CECP certification after doing some online research about Carrier Ethernet. He learned about the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), a global industry alliance comprising more than 200 organizations, including some of the biggest telecommunications companies on the planet. It is the MEF that brings the industry players together to agree on common standards and protocols, and certifies their services and equipment as standards-compliant.
Nurujjaman subsequently flew to Saint Louis, Missouri, to take the MEF’s certification test. He is highly motivated (he has two sons, yet is still on target to finish his PhD within three years), and passed the exam with flying colours.
“For me, I see two major benefits to MEF-CECP certification,” says Nurujjaman. “I have acquired more detailed knowledge on overcoming technical challenges in Carrier Ethernet, so that helps in my research. Secondly, it will add to my CV, so will be very helpful in securing work in my field.”
From July 22 to 25, 2013, Montreal will play host to the next major gathering of the MEF. Approximately 200 member representatives from around the world will attend to participate in discussions and decision-making on technical specifications development, marketing and certification of Carrier Ethernet services. It promises to be another exciting chapter in the unfolding story of the Internet.
• Concordia Institute of Information Systems Engineering
• Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science
• Metro Ethernet Forum