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Native Packet Optical networks empow…

Native Packet Optical networks empower next-generation Ethernet service migration
by Jon Baldry, Transmode March 21, 2011 We have all seen the charts that show traffic exploding throughout residential and business netw orks over the next few years. We’ve been presented with similar predictions since the mid 1990s (and probably earlier). Yetnow it really seems to be happening. So w hat is different this time around? Two main factors – attractive and viable applications and low er cost transport – combine to explain this wave of bandwidth. These two catalysts go hand in hand, as neither could drive the current rapid growth without the other. The enterprise services industry, like the residential services industry, has a natural growth curve as day-today operations drive the need for fatter and fatter access pipes. But we also see a rapid rise in new applications that further drive bandwidth to the enterprise. Key to these is the start of the shift tow ards cloud computing and virtualization of applications that were traditionally held in-house, such as distributed email and services such as Furthermore, themove to Ethernet as a common transport mechanism has allowed the industry to drive costs dow n in transport networks , which has further increased the viability of these new services. But there is still a long w ay to go in terms of migrating and optimizing today’s transport networks from legacy T1 and SONET/SDH services to Ethernet transport for these new services. So, let us look at where theseservices are going as we need to understand the future, as best w e can, before w e can embark on a strategy to migrate our netw orks. Ethernet and enterprise services The enterprise services industry includes many vertical sectors; providers offer services to the finance industry; media; small, medium and large enterprises; and education and local government sectors to name a few. Each has its ownset of specific requirements but there are some common trends. First is the migration to Ethernet as a standard transport protocol, often as a Layer 2 service. This evolution is w ell underway and looks likely to continue. The work of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) has greatly helped standardize the services vendors’ hardw are can support and that service providers can offer. This w ork has gone along way to help the uptake of Ethernet as a service to enterprises. Of course, Ethernet w ill never replace everything because application-specific services will be needed for some time to come. In the SAN area there are early moves towards Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), although not yet in the WAN. Also the video distribution market is likely to use the DVB-ASI/SDI, HD-SDI, and new 3G-SDIstandards for the foreseeable future. So any Ethernet-based infrastructure will need to easily handle these “legacy” services, even though some such as 8G Fibre Channel and 3G-SDI are comparatively new protocols, certainly newer than Ethernet. Looking at the end-user services themselves, w e have already noted that cloud computing and virtualization are becoming increasingly important in theenterprise services market. So, how do these services drive the requirements of a transport network? Well, for cloud computing and virtualization to work the service needs to appear to the user as a locally hosted service, and that means it has to be fast. This requires the network operator to pay particular attention to the latency of the network. Perhaps not to the same scale as when building outservices to the financial services community, where every microsecond or even nanoseconds counts, but latency must still be low and controlled. Linked to this is the requirement that the variation of this latency (known as jitter) must also be as low as possible. In addition to these requirements the network operator naturally also requires a platform that enables the low est possible capital and...
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