Synchronous Digital Hierarchy Vs Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy

The introduction of any new technology is usually preceded by much hyperbole and rhetoric. In many cases, the revolution predicted never gets beyond this. In many more, it never achieves the wildly over optimistic growth forecasted by market specialists - home computing and the paperless office to name but two. It is fair to say, however, by whatever method you use to evaluate a new technology that synchronous digital transmission does not fall into this category. The fundamental benefits to be gained from its deployment by PTOs seem to be so overwhelming that, bar a catastrophe, the bulk of today's plesiochronous transmission systems used for high speed backbone links will be pushed aside in the ne t few years. To !uote "ata!uest#, $It has been claimed by many industry e perts that the impact of synchronous technology will e!ual that of the transition from analogue to digital technology or from copper to fiber optic based transmission.$ %or the first time in telecommunications history there will be a world-wide, uniform and seamless transmission standard for service delivery. &ynchronous digital hierarchy '&"() provides the capability to send data at multi-gigabit rates over today's single-mode fiber-optics links. This first issue of Technology *atch looks at synchronous digital transmission and evaluates its potential impact. %ollowing issues of T* will look at customer oriented broad-band services that will ride on the back of &"( deployment by PTOs. These will include#
• • • •

%rame relay &+"& '&witched +ulti-+egabit "ata &ervice) ,T+ 'asynchronous transfer mode) (igh speed -,. services such as %""I

%igure / shows the relationship between these technologies and services.

Figure 1 - The Relationship between Services

Overview The use of synchronous digital transmission by PTOs in their backbone fibre-optic and radio network will put in place the enabling technology that will support many new broad-band data services demanded by the new breed of computer user. (owever, the deployment of synchronous digital transmission is not only

. transmission capability. "igital data and voice transmission is based on a 7.-to--. . the benefits to the PTO will be the same as those brought to the electronics industry when hard wired logic was replaced by the microprocessor. Only later will customers directly benefit with the introduction of new services such as connectionless -.ccording to one market research company it will take until the mid or late /112s before 324 of revenue for network e!uipment manufacturers will be derived from synchronous systems. timing is controlled to an accuracy of / in /2// by synchronising to a . each running at >:?bps 'known as @/ and described by the 99ITT A.European Revenue Growth of Transmission Equipment Plesiochronous Transmission.. They also want to be able to transfer information to other metropolitan and international sites as easily and as !uickly as they can to a colleague sitting at the ne t desk. graphic layout.s. this constitutes a radical change by any standard '%igure 7). 9. as demonstrated by the technology's early uptake by many operators including 0T. The first to feel the benefits will be the PTOs themselves. .concerned with the provision of high-speed gigabit networks.2:.32= specification). but deployment will be spread over a decade. 5emembering that this is a multi-billion 6 market." and remote database applications are now looking to the telecommunication service suppliers to provide the means of interlinking these now powerful machines at data rates commensurable with those achieved by their own in-house -.. 8sers who e tensively use P9s and workstations with -. Figure 2 .+bit<s bearer consisting of =2 time division multiple ed 'T"+) voice channels. It has as much to do with simplifying access to links and with bringing the full benefits of software control in the form of fle ibility and introduction of network management. with the technology first appearing on new backbone links. In many respects. ..s with that revolution.t the @/ level. synchronous digital transmission will not take hold overnight.s.

To add or drop an individual channel or add a lower rate branch to a backbone link a complete hierarchy of +8Ds is re!uired as shown in figure =. : . . Once multiple ed. This has created the situation where each data link has a rigid physical and electrical multiple ing hierarchy at either end. The highest capacity commonly encountered today for inter-city fibre optic links is B>B+bit<s. large e!uipment volume. +ultiple ing such bearers 'known as tributaries in &"( speak) to a higher aggregate rate 'e.2:. hierarchy of multiple ers at either end of the link can lead to reduced reliability and resilience. and /:2+bit<s. the introduction of an acceptable world-wide synchronous transmission standard called &"( is welcomed by all. Figure 3 - t!pical "lesiochronous #rop $ %nsert 0ecause of the large investment in earlier generations of plesiochronous transmission e!uipment.+bit<s bearers. P"( links are generally limited to point-to-point configurations with full demultiple ing at each switching or cross connect node. Increasing traffic over the past decade has demanded that more and more of these basic @/ bearers be multiple ed together to provide increased capacity. let alone e tracted. higher rate bearers in the hierarchy are operated plesiochronously. there is no simple way an individual @/ bearer can be identified in a P"( hierarchy.master 9aesium clock. each step increase in capacity has necessitated maintaining compatibility with what was already installed by adding yet another layer of multiple ing. without fully demultiple ing down to the @/ level again as shown in %igure =. with each link carrying 3.2 base channels. =:.. Plesiochronous transmission is now often referred to as plesiochronous digital hierarchy 'P"(). Incompatibilities at the optical interfaces of two different suppliers can cause maCor system integration problems.+bit<s to / =:+bit<s) re!uires the padding of each tributary by adding bits such that their combined rate together with the addition of control bits matches the final aggregate rate. "uring this time rates have increased through . long reconfiguration turn-around times. 0ecause of these limitations of P"(. minimum fle ibility. and now even this is insufficient. 8nlike @/ 7. and high capital-e!uipment and maintenance costs.g. The limitations of P"& multiple ing are# • • • • • .+bit<s to /Bppm at /:2+bit<s. with tolerances on an absolute bit-rate ranging from =2ppm 'parts per million) at .>.

:.@T &T&-= rate. which is identical to the &O.B7+bit<s) rate. 8& &O. 0y /1.merican . allowing centraliFed management of the network configuration. selected payloads may be inserted or e tracted from the &T+-/ or &T+-. +ost importantly.@T standards are based on &T&-/ 'synchronous transport signal) e!uivalent to B/.2s. *hen encoded and modulated onto a fiber optic carrier &T&-/ is known as O9-/. so the .:+bit<s. even down to the individual chip. a superset of &O..&I and 99ITT produced an international standard. &ome higher bearer rates coincide with &O. .Synchronous Transmission In the 8&. &"( is based on an &T+-/ '/BB. This particular rate was chosen to accommodate a 8& T-= plesiochronous payload to maintain backwards compatibility with P"(. and largely obviates the need for plugs and sockets. it was clear that a new standard was re!uired to overcome the limitations presented by P"( networks. data.:. and &T&-:. because each type of payload is transmitted in containers synchronous with the &T+-/ frame.@T 'synchronous optical network) standard was born in /1. %urther..@T.@T rates such as# &T&-/7 and &T+-: E >77+bit<s.Abit<s.. aggregate without the need to fully hierarchically de-multiple as with P"( systems. &+"& and +. (igher data rates are multiples of this up to &T&-:. and ..&I '.ational &tandards Institute) &O.+bit<s.. in the early /1.:. collaboration between . which is 7.Abit<s..T+.. all &"( e!uipment is software controlled. other than . future &"( network could look like %igure :. and &T+-/> E 7. &"( supports the transmission of all P"( payloads. called synchronous digital hierarchy '&"(). Figure &- n E'ample Future S#( #igital )etwor* Benefits of SDH Transmission &"( transmission systems have many benefits over P"(# .. +ercury is currently trialing &T+-/ and &T+-/> rate e!uipment..

&"( deployment will take a great deal of investment and effort since it replaces the very infrastructure of the world's core communications networks. Surviva ility.t least one manufacturer is currently stating that they will be spending up to . There is still a lack of understanding of the ramifications of the introduction of &"( within telecommunications operations. Bac%wards compati ly will enable &"( links to support P"( traffic. or the precursor of this service in the form of &witched +ultimegabit "ata &ervice.+bit<s tail can be dropped or inserted with relative ease even on Abit<s links. otherwise known as 0-I&". &uch was the situation in the computer industry in the early /1. It is in this area where confusion reigns with potential technologies vying for supremacy. &"( allows simple and efficient cross-connect without full hierarchical multiple ing or de-multiple ing. The benefits to be gained in terms of improving operator profitability. .@T technology. . Conclusions The introduction of synchronous digital transmission in the form of &"( will eventually revolutioniFe all aspects of public data communication from individual leased lines through to trunk networks./11B time scale. . @nd-to-end monitoring will allow full management and maintenance of the whole network. One practical effect could be to force e!uipment prices down. the use of e tensive software control will impact positively all parts of the business. it will have a great impact on such issues as staffing levels and re!uired personal skills of personnel within PTOs. but when.T+ 'asynchronous transfer mode). single @/ 7.ot least. *ith &"(. ring networks become practicable and their use enables automatic reconfiguration and traffic rerouting when a link is damaged.• • • • • • • • Software Control allows e tensive use of intelligent network management software for high fle ibility. !fficient drop and insert. &"( will bring about more competition between e!uipment suppliers designing essentially to a common standard. !$uipment si"e and operating costs are reduced by removing the need for banks of multiple ers and de-multiple ers. It is not so much a !uestion of whether the technology will be taken up. &uture proof. fast and easy re-configurability. %ollow-on maintenance costs are also reduced. of broad-band transmission. '&+"&). These will be discussed in future issues of Technology *atch. are so high that deployment of &"( is Cust a !uestion of time. Introduction of &"( will lead to the availability of many new broad-band data services providing users with increased fle ibility.2:. brought about by the larger volumes engendered by access to world rather than local markets.24 of their &"( development budgets on management software rather than hardware. 0ut it must not be forgotten that there are still many issues to be resolved.2s. Importantly for PTOs. In practice. and helping them to compete in the new markets of the /112s. #o ustness and resilience of installed networks is increased. and efficient network management. . &"( forms the basis. there are e tensive field trials taking place in /117 throughout the world prior to introduction in the /11= . Standardi"ations enable the interconnection of e!uipment from different suppliers through support of common digital and optical standards and interfaces. in partnership with . 0ecause of the state-of-the-art nature of &"( and &O.

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