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Chapter 6: Multiplexing & PDH

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Introduction
In real life, we have links with limited bandwidths. The wise use of these bandwidths has been,
and will be, one of the main challenges of electronic communications. However, the meaning of
wise may depend on the application. Sometimes we need to combine several low-bandwidth
channels to make use of one channel with a larger bandwidth (Multiplexing). Sometimes we
need to expand the bandwidth of a channel to achieve goals such as privacy and antijamming
(Spreading). In this chapter, we explore multiplexing. In multiplexing, our goal is efficiency;
we combine several channels into one.

Bandwidth utilization is the wise use of available bandwidth to achieve specific


goals. Efficiency can be achieved by multiplexing; privacy and anti-jamming can
be achieved by spreading.

6.1 Multiplexing
Whenever the bandwidth of a medium linking two devices is greater than the bandwidth needs
of the devices, the link can be shared. Multiplexing is a set of techniques that allows the
simultaneous transmission of multiple signals across a single data link.
As data and telecommunications use increases, so does traffic. We can accommodate this
increase by continuing to add individual links each time a new channel is needed; or we can
install higher-bandwidth links and use each to carry multiple signals.
Todays technology includes high-bandwidth media such as optical fiber and terrestrial and
satellite microwaves. Each has a bandwidth far in excess of that needed for the average
transmission signal. If the bandwidth of a link is greater than the bandwidth needs of the
devices connected to it, the bandwidth is wasted. An efficient system maximizes the utilization
of all resources; bandwidth is one of the most precious resources we have in data
communications.
In a multiplexed system, n lines share the bandwidth of one link. The figure below shows the
basic format of a multiplexed system.

In the figure above, the word link refers to the physical path. The word channel refers to the
portion of a link that carries a transmission between a given pair of lines. One link can have
many (n) channels.
There are three basic multiplexing techniques: frequency-division multiplexing, wavelengthdivision multiplexing, and time-division multiplexing. See the figure below

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6.1.1 Frequency-division multiplexing (FDM)


It is an analog technique that can be applied when the bandwidth of a link (in hertz) is greater
than the combined bandwidths of the signals to be transmitted. In FDM, signals generated by
each sending device modulate different carrier frequencies. These modulated signals are then
combined into a single composite signal that can be transported by the link.
We consider FDM to be an analog multiplexing technique; however, this does not mean that
FDM cannot be used to combine sources sending digital signals. A digital signal can be
converted to an analog signal and FDM is used to multiplex them.
Multiplexing Process
The figure below shows each source generates a signal of a similar frequency range. Inside the
multiplexer, these similar signals modulates different carrier frequencies f1, f2, and f3 the
resulting modulated signals are then combined into a single composite signal that is sent out
over a media link that has enough bandwidth to accommodate it.

Demultiplexing Process
The demultiplexer uses a series of filters to decompose the multiplexed signal into its
constituent component signals. The individual signals are then passed to a demodulator that
separates them from their carriers and passes them to the output lines. The figure above shows
the demultiplexing process.
Example
Assume that a voice channel occupies a bandwidth of 4 kHz we need to combine three voice
channels into a link with a bandwidth of 12 kHz, from 20 to 32 kHz. Show the configuration,
using the frequency domain. Assume there are no guard bands.
Solution
We shift (modulate) each of the three voice channels to a different bandwidth, as shown in
figure below. We use the 20 to 24 kHz bandwidth for the first channel, the 24 to 28 kHz
bandwidth for the second channel, and the 28- to 32-kHz bandwidth for the third one. Then we

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combine them as shown in figure be. At the receiver, each channel receives the entire signal
using a filter to separate out its own signal. The first channel uses a filter that passes frequencies
between 20 and 24 kHz and filters out (discards) any other frequencies. The second channel
uses a filter that passes frequencies between 24 and 28 kHz, and the third channel uses a filter
that passes frequencies between 28 and 32 kHz each channel then shifts the frequency to start
from zero.

Applications of FDM
The Analog Hierarchy in telephone companies
To maximize the efficiency of their infrastructure, telephone companies have traditionally
multiplexed signals from lower-bandwidth lines onto higher-bandwidth lines. In this way, many
switched or leased lines can be combined into fewer but bigger channels. For analog lines,
FDM is used. One of these hierarchical systems used by AT &T is made up of groups, super
groups, master groups, and jumbo groups see the figure below in Analog hierarchy.

AM and FM radio broadcasting


Radio uses the air as the transmission medium. A special band from 530 to 1700 kHz is
assigned to AM radio. All radio stations need to share this band. Each AM station needs 10 kHz
of bandwidth. Each station uses a different carrier frequency, which means it is shifting its

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signal and multiplexing. The signal that goes to the air is a combination of signals. A receiver
receives all these signals, but filters (by tuning) only the one which is desired.
The situation is similar in FM broadcasting. However, FM has a wider band of 88 to 108 MHz
because each station needs a bandwidth of 200 kHz.

Television broadcasting
Each TV channel has its own bandwidth of 6 MHz

6.1.2 Wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM)


It is designed to use the high-data-rate capability of fiber-optic cable. The optical fiber data rate
is higher than the data rate of metallic transmission cable. Using a fiber-optic cable for one
single line wastes the available bandwidth. Multiplexing allows us to combine several lines into
one. WDM is conceptually the same as FDM, except that the multiplexing and demultiplexing
involve optical signals transmitted through fiber-optic channels.
The idea is the same: We are combining different signals of different frequencies. The
difference is that the frequencies are very high.

Although WDM technology is very complex, the basic idea is very simple. We want to
combine multiple light sources into one single light at the multiplexer and do the reverse at the
demultiplexer. The combining and splitting of light sources are easily handled by a prism.
Recall from basic physics that a prism bends a beam of light based on the angle of incidence
and the frequency. Using this technique, a multiplexer can be made to combine several input
beams of light, each containing a narrow band of frequencies, into one output beam of a wider
band of frequencies. A demultiplexer can also be made to reverse the process. See the figure
above.

WDM application
One application of WDM is the SDH network in which multiple optical fiber lines are
multiplexed and demultiplexed. We discuss SDH in next chapter. A new method, called dense
WDM (DWDM), can multiplex a very large number of channels by spacing channels very close
to one another. It achieves even greater efficiency.

6.1.3 Synchronous Time-division multiplexing (TDM)


It is a digital process that allows several connections to share the high bandwidth of a link.
Instead of sharing a portion of the bandwidth as in FDM, time is shared. Each connection
occupies a portion of time in the link.

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MUX

DEMUX

We also need to remember that TDM is, in principle, a digital multiplexing technique. Digital
data from different sources are combined into one timeshared link. However, this does not
mean that the sources cannot produce analog data; analog data can be sampled, changed to
digital data and then multiplexing by TDM.
Time Slots and Frames
In TDM, the data flow of each input connection is divided into units, where each input occupies
one input time Ts called time slot. A unit can be 1 bit or one byte. A round of data units from
each input connection is collected into a frame. See the figure below.

Interleaving
TDM can be visualized as two fast-rotating switches, one on the multiplexing side and the
other on the demultiplexing side. The switches are synchronized and rotate at the same
speed, but in opposite directions.

There are two types of interleaving according to time slots


1. If the time-slot contains one complete byte of the input signal, the multiplexed output
signal is termed byte interleaved.
Example
Four channels are multiplexed using TDM. If each channel sends 100 bytes /s and we multiplex
1 byte per channel, show the frame traveling on the link, the size of the frame, the duration of a
frame, the frame rate, and the bit rate for the link.

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Solution
The multiplexer is shown in figure below each frame carries 1 byte from each channel; the size
of each frame, therefore, is 4 bytes, or 32 bits. Because each channel is sending 100 bytes/s and
a frame carries 1 byte from each channel, the frame rate must be 100 frames per second. The bit
rate is 100 32, or 3200 bps.

2. If the time-slot contains just one single bit of the input signal, the multiplexed output
signal is termed bit interleaved.
Example
A multiplexer combines four 100-kbps channels using a time slot of 2 bits. Show the output
with four arbitrary inputs. What is the frame rate? What is the frame duration? What is the bit
rate? What is the bit duration?
Solution
The link carries 50,000 frames per second. The frame duration is therefore 1/50,000 s or 20 s.
The frame rate is 50,000 frames per second, and each frame carries 8 bits; the bit rate is 50,000
8 = 400,000 bits or 400 kbps. The bit duration is 1/400,000 s, or 2.5 s.

Empty Slots
Synchronous TDM is not as efficient as it could be. If a source does not have data to send, the
corresponding slot in the output frame is empty. The figure below shows a case in which one of
the input lines has no data to send and one slot in another input line has discontinuous data.

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Bit stuffing
Sometimes the bit rates of sources are not equal so we make the highest input data rate the main
data rate and then add dummy bits to the input lines with lower rates. This will increase their
rates. This technique is called bit stuffing as shown in the figure below.

Frame Synchronizing
The implementation of TDM is not as simple as that of FDM. Synchronization between the
multiplexer and demultiplexer is a major issue. If the multiplexer and the demultiplexer are not
synchronized, a bit belonging to one channel may be received by the wrong channel. For this
reason, one or more synchronization bits are usually added to the beginning of each frame.
These bits, called framing bits, follow a pattern, frame to frame, that allows the demultiplexer
to synchronize with the incoming stream so that it can separate the time slots accurately. In
most cases, this synchronization information consists of 1 bit per frame, alternating between 0
and 1, as shown in figure below.

6.2 Digital Hierarchy


Telephone companies implement TDM through a hierarchy of digital signals, called digital
signal (DS) service or digital hierarchy. The figure below shows digital hierarchy and the data
rates supported by each level.

Digital Signal (DS)

Capacity

DS0 64 kbps
DS1 24*64 kbps =1.544 Mbps
DS2 4*1.544+stuffing bits=6.321 Mbps
DS3 7*6.321+stuffing bits=44.346 Mbps
DS4 6*44.362+stuffing bits =274.176 Mbps

1 voice channel
24 voice channels
96 voice channels
672 voice channels
4032voice channels

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6.2.1 T Lines
DS-0, DS-1, and so on are the names of services. To implement those services, the telephone
companies use T lines (T-1 to T-4). These are lines with capacities matched to the data rates of
the DS-1 to DS-4 services (see Table below). So far T-1 and T-3 lines are commercially
available.

Service

Line

Rate(Mbps)

Voice Channels

DS1
DS2
DS3
DS4

T-1
T-2
T-3
T-4

1.544
6.321
44.346
274.176

24
96
672
4032

The T-1 Frame


The frame used on T-l line is usually 193 bits divided into 24 slots of 8 bits plus 1 extra bit for
synchronization (24 x 8 + 1 = 193). If a T-l line carries 8000 frames/sec, the data rate is (193 x
8000) =1.544Mbps is the capacity of the line as shown in the figure bellow.

T Lines Applications
T lines are digital lines designed for the transmission of digital data, audio, or video. However,
they also can be used for analog transmission (regular telephone connections), provided the
analog signals are first sampled, then time-division multiplexed. The possibility of using T lines
as along carries opened up a new generation of services for the telephone companies. Earlier,
when an organization wanted 24 separate telephone lines, it needed to run 24 twisted-pair
cables from the company to the central exchange. Today, that same organization can combine
the 24 lines into one T-1 line and run only the T-1 line to the exchange. See the figure below.

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6.2.2 E Lines
Europeans use a version of T lines called E lines. The two systems are conceptually identical,
but their capacities differ. See the table below.

E Lines

Capacity

E0 64 kbps
E1 32*64 kbps = 2.048 Mbps
E2 4*2.048+stuffing bits = 8.448 Mbps
E3 4*8.448+stuffing bits = 34.368Mbps
E4 4*34.368+stuffing bits = 139.264 Mbps

1
voice channel
30 voice channels
120 voice channels
480 voice channels
1920 voice channels

The E-1 Frame


The frame used on E-1 line is usually 256 bits divided into 30 slots of 8 bits plus 2 extra slots of
8 bits No. 0 for Framing, and No. 16 for signaling (30 x 8 + 2 x 8 = 256) If a E-l line carries
8000 frames/sec, the data rate is (256x 8000 frame/s) = 2.048 Mbps is the capacity of the line.
See the figure below.

As result of the hierarchy of digital signal service there is some applications appears like
ISDN

6.2.3 ISDN
Integrated Service Digital Network: its the ability to deliver at minimum two simultaneous
connections, in any combination of data, voice, video, and fax, over a single line. Multiple
devices can be attached to the line, and used as needed. There are two types of ISDN:
Basic Rate Interface
A128 Kbit/s service delivered over a pair of standard telephone copper wires. The frame of BRI
consists of two 64 Kbit/s bearer channels ('B' channels) and one 16 Kbit/s signaling channel ('D'
channel or delta channel), and 48 overhead. This interface called 2B+D.

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Primary Rate Interface


It is carried over an E1 (2048 Kbit/s) in most parts of the world. An E1 is 30 'B' channels of 64
Kbit/s, one 'D' channel of 64 Kbit/s and a timing and alarm channel of 64 Kbit/s.
In North America PRI service is delivered on one or more T1 carriers (often referred to as
23B+D) of 1544 Kbit/s (24 channels). A PRI has 23 'B' channels and 1 'D' channel for
signaling.

6.3 Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy


As demand for voice telephony increased, and the levels of the traffic in network become
higher which make the standard 2 Mbps signal not sufficient to cover the traffic loads occurring
in the trunk network. In order to avoid having to use large numbers of standard 2 Mbps links, it
was decided to create further levels of multiplexing.
The standard adopted in Europe involved the combination of Four 2 Mbps channels to produce
8 Mbps channel this level of multiplexing differed slightly from the previous in that the
incoming signals were combined one bit at a time instead of one byte at a time i.e. bit
interleaving was used instead of byte interleaving. As the need arose, further levels of
multiplexing were added to the standard at 34Mbps, and 140 Mbps to produce a full hierarchy
of bit rates. See the figure below.

The multiplexing hierarchies described above indicate simple enough in principle but there are
some complications. When multiplexing a number of 2Mb/s channels which created by
different equipments, each equipment generating a slightly different bit rate. So, before these
2Mb/s channels can be bit interleaved they must be brought up to the same bit rate this process
called adaptation (adding stuffing bits). The stuffing bits are recognize when demultiplexing
occurs, and discarded, leaving the original signal. This process is known as plesiochronous
operation, in Greek, meaning almost synchronous.

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The same problems with synchronization, as described above, occur at every level of the
multiplexing hierarchy, so Stuffing bits are added at each stage. The use of plesiochronous
operation throughout the hierarchy has led to adoption of the term Plesiochronous Digital
Hierarchy, or PDH.
In PDH system to recover 64kb/s channel form 140 Mb/s PDH signal, its necessary to
demultiplexe all the way down to the 2Mb/s level before the location of the 64Kb/s channel can
be identified. PDH system requires step (140/34, 34/8, 8/2 de-multiplex; 2/8, 8/34, 34/140
multiplex) as shown in the figure above to drop out or add individual speech or data channel.
This is due to the stuffing bits used in each level.

Different PDH bit rates defined by ITU-T


There are three different standards defined by ITU-T as shown in the figure bellow.

Disadvantage of PDH
1. It has three Regional standards: European Series, North American Series and
Japanese Series, instead of universal standards for electrical interface so each of them
has different electrical interface rate levels, frame structures and multiplexing methods
which make it difficult for Network interconnection.
2. It hasn't Universal Standards for optical interfaces: All PDH equipment manufacturers
use their own line codes, so the equipments at the two ends of a transmission link must
be provided by the same vendor. This causes many difficulties for network structuring,
management and Network interconnection
3. Adding/dropping low-rate signals to/from high-rate signals must be done level by level.
This not only increases size, cost, and complexity of equipment, but also decreases the
reliability (throughput and delay) of the equipment.
4. In the frame structure of PDH signals, there are few Overhead bytes are used for the
OAM of PDH signals which make it difficult to make a performance and real-time
monitoring, and increase the cost of system maintenance.
5. No Universal Network Management Interface in PDH system: different parts of the
network may use different network management systems, which are obstacles in
forming an integrated Telecommunication Management System (TMN).

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