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Wide-Area Networking Forums Plan Merger

Two of the most influential networking industry groups are planning to merge in an attempt to speed development and deployment of common Layer 2 specifications.

The MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance and the ATM Forum said that by combining their efforts, a single organization would better and faster work towards establishing multivendor, multiservice, packet-based networks and associated applications.

Members of both organizations will vote on the proposal by the end of this quarter. If approved, the merger should be completed by the end of the year. The groups are already holding a joint meeting this week in Salt Lake City. Similar joint events are being planned.

Carriers and vendors have long campaigned for a single industry forum and a common suite of implementation agreements across ATM, frame relay and multiprotocol label switching to reduce the time to market for new network capabilities and services.

The merger would create a unified industry association with a combined membership of over 100 companies representing the world's major service providers, equipment vendors, software and silicon suppliers and enterprise end-users.

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