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Enable fast network provisioning.

Managed optical cross-connects bring new power to the network node.

Optical networks and dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology have increased the capacity of a single fiber by many orders of magnitude. Just as advanced transmission systems can eliminate congestion in fiber cables, similar breakthroughs are occurring in the network node. A new generation of managed optical cross-connect systems route huge volumes of network traffic, while adapting dynamically to changing traffic patterns and customer needs.

The new units keep pace with the demands of today's networks by providing the ability to route thousands of individual streams of network traffic without restrictions regarding signal format or type of communications service. Just as DWDM allows transmission of multiple channels of traffic in the gigabit range, optical cross-connects enable switching to handle data streams of 2.5, 10, and 40 Gbps and higher. The amount of data able to flow across a network node is quite staggering, representing millions of simultaneous phone calls, or thousands of pages of text.

Optical cross-connects provide other features in addition to the granularity needed to accommodate raw bandwidth. Service aggregation combines smaller streams into larger ones to increase efficiency by making maximum use of circuit capacity (e.g., 4x2.5 Gbps to 10 Gbps and 4x10 Gbps to 40 Gbps). Central network management systems can remotely manage units, allowing a wide range of online management and protection services. Protection switching and network restoration ensure availability of service by automatically rerouting traffic to bypass a faulty node or cable section.

Another advantage of optical cross-connects is economy. Optical switching uses beams of light modulated at different frequencies, a technique that allows switching at any granularity--a term that refers to the size of the data stream--required to meet traffic demands.

CLOSELY INTEGRATED SOLUTION

A modular optical service node allows carriers to choose different provisioning techniques to match requirements. A managed optical distribution frame provides low dynamic cross-connections for provisioning channels that are less frequently rerouted. An optical cross-connect is the other major component that enables large-scale network provisioning at short notice. Additional modules include protection switching, service aggregation and distance extension. Local administrators can also access the central network management system for provisioning instructions and troubleshooting from their Web browsers.

The optical cross-connect module works together with the network management system to allow provisioning from the management terminal without human intervention at the network node. For example, a technician at a central location would use the network management software to request a path from Seattle to Miami. The software creates the commands for the different optical cross-connects, stitching a path that may pass through 20 or more network nodes.

MAKING THE JOB EASIER

The managed optical distribution frame includes features that make the local technician's job easier, while eliminating the risk of human error. Provisioning instructions from the central management center are mapped to an LED display in the local distribution room, showing the location of the connectors. The technician follows the map on the LED screen to locate the cables. When the provisioning is complete, the LEDs go out, while an automatic message to the management center confirms that the connection is correct. Disconnects and other error conditions are also reported. When a provisioning request arrives from the network management center, the LED display at the affected cross-connect will flash to indicate that a work order is pending.

Integration with network management systems also enables new provisioning scenarios. For example, a salesperson selling dark fiber may visit a corporate client in his office. If the client requests additional service between Los Angeles and Chicago, the salesperson can enter the request using the Web browser on a portable PC, then receive immediate feedback that the request has been received. A technician at a central facility then enables the cross-connections using the network management system.

Just as optical and DWDM technology has lowered transport cost per transmitted bit, similar efficiencies are being achieved in the network node. In addition, the ability to quickly provision the network from a central location provides a business advantage for telecommunication carriers and network operators. The new cross-connects combine unprecedented switching capacity with high agility--easily adaptable to changing traffic requirements, and transparent to different bit rates and network protocols.

www.siemens.com

Circle 256 for more information from Siemens

Jaeger is product manager, Optical Service Node, Siemens Information and Communication Networks, Munich, Germany.
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Title Annotation:Technology Information
Author:Jaeger, Hubert
Publication:Communications News
Date:Feb 1, 2001
Words:728
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