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Telcos become better versed in their Sonet lines.

Local exchange carriers (LECs) nationwide are slowly beginning to place on their networks equipment that supports the Synchronous Optical Network (Sonet) standard. However, minimal movement is expected in this arena until late this year or early 1993, in part because of concern that some operational support systems (OSSs) won't be able to support the Sonet standard.

New Jersey Bell, a Bell Atlantic company, recently announced plans to put in place what company officials say is the first Sonet OC-12 (622Mb/s) survivable fiber-optic ring system in the United States to serve businesses directly. Cincinnati Bell Telephone is claiming the position as the first LEC to install a full self-healing Sonet ring for users, having deployed Sonet OC-3 add/drop multiplexers in March on a fiber-optic network that serves 60 major businesses and other users in downtown Cincinnati.

But, overall, most LECs and common carriers remain in the trial stages of bringing Sonet to their customers.

Greg Wortman, a spokesman with Fujitsu, cites several reasons why Sonet implementations haven't occurred more quickly, including the fact that advances in software, such as that used in OSSs to support Sonet, always lag hardware advances.

"Operational support systems have all the processing power they need, but you have a lag time in the (development of) software. That impacts Sonet, because a lot of its advantages are found in the overhead channel, the data communications channel and in the simplicity of monitoring those channels."

Also, Wortman says, "Many of the RBOCs were waiting for the Phase 2 Sonet equipment to come out, for different reasons, such as the add/drop functionality. Phase 1 was strictly point-to-point.

"And, let's face it. The general economic situation has not been positive for capital investments by the RBOCs, and that doesn't bode well for any emerging technology."

The Sonet system being deployed by New Jersey Bell promises to enable the company to provide voice, data and video services in hours rather than days and to ensure nearly instantaneous restoral if service is disrupted. The system is also expected to permit the company to offer high bandwidth for video services, plus remote service provisioning and performance monitoring capabilities.

The New Jersey Bell system, initially slated to serve 14 office buildings with about 30 major businesses in Jersey City, N.J.'s waterfront area, is scheduled to begin operations in August. However, the installation date for the system could slip if testing of the latest version of software for the Bellcore Network Monitoring and Analysis (NMA) system doesn't perform as hoped when managing the Sonet elements.

Kyle Hill, a spokesman for Cincinnati Bell Telephone, says of his company's new Sonet network, "We have four nodes up and operating. We are running downtown traffic on (the network) right now. It's a redundant service. We're trying to fault it, but we can't. It's performing beautifully. It is giving us the reliability that our customers have asked for. We went to Sonet as a response to customer need."

Hill says the network, called the MetroPLEX self-healing fiber ring, was tested for more than a year before being implemented. The network, which makes a correction automatically within 50 milliseconds, is monitored by a Northern Telecom DFMS surveillance system.

"It's providing adequate surveillance. It's picking up any of the alarms we need to pick up."

Other regional operating systems and common carriers nationwide are in various stages of testing Sonet both in the lab and in the field.

Most don't expect to roll out Sonet for general usage in their area until late 1992 or early 1993.

Barbara Smith, member of the technical staff with Southwestern Bell Telephone's Technology Resources division, says her company is evaluating equipment from various vendors of Sonet products, including AT&T and Fujitsu, and is slated to begin field trials in the second half of this year.

Larry Corley, manager of transport product evaluation at Bell South, says he expects his company to deploy Sonet add/drop multiplexers sometime in late 1992. He says Bell South is currently evaluating a full range of OC-3, OC-12 and OC-48 Sonet terminals from various vendors, and has deployed some equipment, including the AT&T DDM-2000 OC-3, in field trials.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:SMDS & SONET; Synchronous Optical Network
Author:Lavallee, Wendy J.
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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