Continued… DWDM Part VI

For today’s post (Part VI) and next post (Part VII), I”ll share on the options to resolve fiberoptic capacity challenges that include graphical illustration on TDM-DWDM analogy for a better understanding as promised in DWDM Part IV post.

At present, I believe many carriers are nearing 100% capacity utilization across significant portions of of their networks. Another problem for carriers is the challenge of deploying and integrating diverse technologies in one physical infrastructure. Customer demands and competitive pressures mandate that carriers offer diverse services economically and deploy them over the embedded network. DWDM provides service providers an answer to that demand. As mentioned previously, use of DWDM allows service providers to offer services such as e-mail, video, and multimedia carried as Internet protocol (IP) data over asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and voice carried over SONET/SDH. Despite the fact that these formats—IP, ATM, and SONET/SDH—provide unique bandwidth management capabilities, all three can be transported over the optical layer using DWDM. This unifying capability allows the service provider the flexibility to respond to customer demands over one network.

A platform that is able to unify and interface with these technologies and position the carrier with the ability to integrate current and next-generation technologies is critical for a carrier’s success.

Resolving the Capacity Crisis

Faced with the multifaceted challenges of increased service needs, fiber exhaust, and layered bandwidth management, service providers need options to provide an economical solution as follows:

Option #1

One way to alleviate fiber exhaust is to lay more fiber,  and, for those networks where the cost of laying new fiber is minimal, this will prove the most economical solution. However, laying new fiber will not necessarily enable the service provider to provide new services or utilize the bandwidth management capability of a unifying optical layer.

Option #2

A second option is to increase the bit rate using time division multiplexing (TDM), where TDM increases the capacity of a fiber by slicing time into smaller intervals so that more bits (data) can be transmitted per second as shown in the following diagram.

TDM Increased Network Capacity

TDM Increased Network Capacity

The figure above is a highway analogy, where one fiber can be considered as a multi-lane highway, can be used to explain the difference between the two (TDM and DWDM). TDM relates to traffic flow on single lane of the highway. To increase the throughput of autos, one can increase their speed that is equivalent to time multiplexing.

Traditionally, this has been the industry method of choice (DS-1, DS-2, DS-3, etc.). However, when service providers use this approach exclusively, they must make the leap to the higher bit rate in one jump, having purchased more capacity than they initially need. Based on the SONET hierarchy, the next incremental step from 10 Gbps TDM is 40 Gbps—a quantum leap that many believe will be a big challenge (if not be possible) for TDM technology in the near future. This method has also been used with transport networks that are based on either the synchronous* optical network (SONET) standard for North America or the synchronous* digital network (SDH) standard for international networks.

The telecommunications industry adopted the SONET or SDH standard to provide a standard synchronous* optical hierarchy with sufficient flexibility to accommodate current and future digital signals. SONET or SDH accomplishes this by defining standard rates and formats and optical interfaces. For example, multiple electrical and optical signals are brought into a SONET terminal where they are terminated and multiplexed electrically before becoming part of the payload of an STS–1, the building block frame structure of the SONET hierarchy.  The STS–1 payloads are then multiplexed to be sent out on the single fiber at a single rate: OC–3 to OC–12 to OC–48 and eventually to OC–192. SDH has a similar structure with STM-n building block resulting in signal rates of STS–1 through STM–64.

SONET and SDH, two closely related standards, provided the foundation to transform the transport networks as we know them today. They govern interface parameters; rates, formats, and multiplexing methods; and operations, administration, maintenance, and provisioning (OAM&P) for high-speed transmission of bits of information in flashing laser-light streams.

*Note: A synchronous mode of transmission means that the laser signals flowing through a fiber-optic system have been synchronized to an external clock. The resulting benefit is that data streams transmitting voice, data, and images through the fiber system flow in a steady, regulated manner so that each stream of light can readily be identified and easily extracted for delivery or routing.

Source: Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM)  by The International Engineering Consortium (IEC)

To be continued… DWDM Part VII


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