Sycamore chops up SONET bandwidth

Sycamore Networks Inc. Tuesday announced its optical grooming switch can shape traffic so it fits in 50M bit/sec chunks onto standard SONET networks, making it possible for the switch to support high-speed services without wasting much bandwidth.

The company has a new four-port Gigabit Ethernet card for its SN 3000 switch that enables carriers to transport these 50M bit/sec increments over SONET networks that otherwise would require using 50M bit/sec, 150M bit/sec or 600M bit/sec.

If a customer wanted a 200M bit/sec connection in the past, it would have eaten up 600M bit/sec on the SONET transport network. With the new concatenation capability, as long as there is an SN 3000 at the access and exit points to the network, providers can offer sub-rate services without stranding bandwidth.

The new card will be available in July.

Sycamore also announced an alliance with Appian Communications Inc., Atrica Inc., Extreme Networks Inc., Riverstone Networks Inc. and Unisphere Networks Inc. Those companies' routers have been demonstrated interoperable with Sycamore grooming switches. So, when a Sycamore switch detects network congestion, it can signal the routers to turn down the rate at which they are forwarding data. When congestion clears, the switch can signal the router to turn the rate back up.

Sycamore also announced that its SN 3000, 16000 SC and 16000 switching platforms will support optical wavelengths that are used in transport networks. Currently, the switches supported 1,310-nanometer wavelengths that had to be converted to wavelengths in the 1,500-nanometer range before they could cross transport networks.

This required converting the 1,310-nm signal to an electrical signal and converting that signal to a 1,500-nm optical signal - a process requiring expensive converters. This eliminates the conversion.

Sycamore claims this will double the number of wavelengths per fiber and double the distance a wavelength will travel on the optical switches it uplinks to.

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