RealTime IT News

Nortel's Switch Card Capitalizes on Next-Gen Networks

Pushing its OPTera Metro 4000 router to the next level, Nortel Networks rolled out the Packet Edge 100 Ethernet switch card to international carriers Monday.

The switch card capitalizes on a relatively widespread industry standard for data transmissions, the synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH). The standard was created by the older network's inability to separate circuits in a multiplexed (analog and digital) architecture.

SDH is the international equivalent of North America's synchronous optical network (SONET) architecture, approved by the International Telcommunication Union. The ITU is a worldwide telecom standards body.

Using SDH, carriers can significantly cut down on bandwidth management and delivery costs found in many of today's networks, ultimately creating lower costs for the end user: Internet service providers, corporations and local exchange carriers (LECs).

Providers and corporations also need less routing equipment to support their network and facilities between local and wide area networks (LAN/WAN). Technicians need only install the "plug-and-play" card into the OPTera Metro 4000 router.

The Packet Edge 100 also lets carriers provide a growing need for bandwidth on demand, which lets users pay only for the bandwidth they use in a given month. Bandwidth throttling, or "tunability," service is also possible with the new card.

Many carriers today use two multiplexing schemes in their network: frequency division multiplexing (FDM -- where each data packet is assigned a different frequency) and time division multiplexing (TDM where each packet is assigned a fixed time slot).

Marco Pagani, Nortel metro optical president, said the Ethernet card is the result of rising demand by carriers using a SDH architecture in its networks.

"Our customers have a large installed base of SDH networks, and it is crucial that we help them to realize their full value," Pagani said. "This Ethernet over SDH solution creates a new service for our OPTera Metro 4000 platform, enabling service providers to offer excellent service levels to enterprise customers, and to provide greater granularity in the bandwidth they offer compared to TDM."