Channel Partners

September 1, 2004

4 Min Read

Posted: 9/2004


By Russ Esmacher

Today’s next-generation SONET technology enables wholesale service providers to offer a growing variety of versatile optical services to meet their customers’ needs and package their service offerings more efficiently to maximize bandwidth.

Business needs are changing, as large organizations stress new initiatives including business continuance, disaster recovery, storage networking and high-bandwidth multiservice applications. These applications require an intelligent, highspeed networking infrastructure with robust reliability.

Source: CIR

Networking challenges faced by large enterprises present a compelling opportunity for service providers that deliver the right set of flexible, customer-centric services. Wholesale providers can offer these service providers a distinct set of competitive advantages, enabling them to rapidly deploy new service offerings to new locations without rebuilding their existing network architectures.

Many wholesalers depend on SONET infrastructures, which have long been a mainstay for wide-area and metropolitan-area communications. Traditionally, SONET rings were employed to manage TDM voice applications. Delivering high-bandwidth data services over networks built for low-bandwidth voice services are often impractical.

Next-generation SONET technology supports a wealth of services, from simple, dedicated links to customized solutions that provide maximum performance tailored for very specific applications. Some of the leading services enabled by next-generation SONET technology include Ethernet over SONET, storage over SONET and dense wavelengthdivision multiplexing (DWDM).

Ethernet over SONET.

Metro Ethernet services over optical networks can provide the speed and reliability benefits of SONET networks along with the familiarity of the Ethernet LAN interface. During the past three years, SONET networks have made major advances in their ability to support data traffic.

With the June 2004 approval of Resilient Packet Ring (RPR), a Layer 2 ring technology designed to meet the requirements of packet-based metro networks, the ability of SONET networks to carry data has taken another significant leap forward. RPR supports robust quality of service features to prioritize data traffic, enabling service providers to offer a range of differentiated services to meet specific customer needs.

Storage over SONET.

SONET networks are an excellent solution for organizations that require geographically dispersed data or data centers, either to meet evolving regulatory requirements or to implement sound business practices. Offering low latency combined with high reliability and availability, SONET networks provide an ideal infrastructure for storage area networking. And new multiservice optical platforms enable service providers to carry storage protocols such as Fiber Channel and FICON costeffectively over either metro areas or regional distances, using the existing fiber infrastructure.


DWDM, a leading technology for demanding enterprise networking solutions, is compatible with SONET and a wide range of storage protocols. Next-generation metro DWDM platforms support up to 32 redundant, wavelengths, providing enormous density and scalability. And wholesalers can further increase density using service aggregation, which allows multiple service types per wavelength, as well as per fiber, for very efficient transmission. By transporting more traffic over their existing fiber facilities, wholesalers can offer much more bandwidth at lower costs.

Many wholesale service providers use multiservice SONET provisioning platforms (MSPPs) to meet the escalating demand for value-add services. The MSPP has evolved from a TDMbased network element to a platform that can easily scale to support additional interfaces, including DWDM, Ethernet/IP and storage-area networking. These multiservice interfaces reside on the same platform or network element and share a common management system.

For example, Lightpath, the fourth-largest LEC in the state of New York, uses the Cisco ONS 15454 MSPP to power its optical network. Lightpath is a “carrier’s carrier” that provides wholesale transport and access to major longdistance and wireless carriers throughout the area. By delivering its services over one converged network, the company can improve operational efficiencies to deliver both TDM and IP solutions.

To offer customers more advanced data services, Lightpath is upgrading its network to support both the Layer 2 and Layer 3 intelligence needed for variablerate data transport and IP-centric applications. With the Cisco ONS 15454 ML-Series Line Card, Lightpath can provide the IP support that advanced data applications require, without significant changes to its existing infrastructure.

US Signal is another full-service fiber-optic solutions provider that uses next-generation SONET technology to deliver telecommunications solutions to wholesale and enterprise customers. Using the Cisco ONS 15600 Multi Service Switching Platform, the company aggregates multiple OC-192 rings in its optical network operating in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. The platforms high port density lets US Signal scale multiple networks and minimize its costper- port. And the Cisco ONS 15600 is interoperable with the company’s existing Cisco ONS 15454 ring architectures, increasing reliability and speeding up service provisioning.

Next-generation SONET technology gives wholesale service providers the agility and adaptability to move beyond traditional TDM services to more lucrative, higher-value data services. By offering the differentiated services their customers demand, wholesale providers can open the door to new revenue opportunities, higher customer loyalty and improved market share in the years ahead.

Russ Esmacher is group product manager in the optical networking group for Cisco Systems Inc.


Cisco Systems Inc. www.cisco.comLightpath www.lightpath.metUS Signal www.ussignalcom.comCIR www.cir-inc.com

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