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1 The Way to SDH

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.1PCM-30 System (1/2) .......................................................................................... 3 1.1 PCM-30 System (2/2) ......................................................................................... 4 1.2 PDH Multiplexing (1/3)........................................................................................ 5 1.2 PDH Multiplexing (2/3)........................................................................................ 6 1.2 PDH Multiplexing (3/3)........................................................................................ 7 1.3 Limitations of PDH (1/2) ..................................................................................... 8 1.3 Limitations of PDH (2/2) ..................................................................................... 9 1.4 Benefits of SDH................................................................................................ 10 1.5 ITU-T Multiplex Scheme (1/3) ........................................................................... 11 1.5 ITU-T Multiplex Scheme (2/3) ........................................................................... 12 1.5 ITU-T Multiplex Scheme (3/3) ........................................................................... 13 1.6 ETSI Multiplex Scheme .................................................................................... 14

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.1PCM-30 System (1/2)

Digital data and voice transmission is based on a 2.048 Mbit/s bearer consisting of 30 time division multiplexed (TDM) channels, each running at 64 Kbps. The 2.048 Mbit/s bearer is known as E1. Channel 0 and 16 are used to transmit additional signalling information within the PCM-30 frame. At the E1 level, timing is controlled by synchronising to a master Caesium clock. Increasing traffic over the past decade has demanded that more and more of these basic E1 bearers be multiplexed together to provide increased capacity. At the same time, rates have increased through 8, 34, and 140 Mbit/s. The highest capacity commonly encountered today for inter-city fibre optic links is 565 Mbit/s, with each link carrying 7,680 base channels, and now even this is insufficient.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.1 PCM-30 System (2/2)

Unlike E1 2.048 Mbit/s bearers, higher rate bearers in the hierarchy are operated plesiochronously. Tolerances on an absolute bit-rate range from 30 ppm at 8 Mbit/s to 15 ppm at 140 Mbit/s. Multiplexing such bearers to a higher aggregate rate (e.g. 4 x 8Mbit/s to 1 x 34Mbit/s) requires the padding of each tributary by adding bits so that their combined rate together with the addition of control bits matches the final aggregate rate. Plesiochronous transmission is now often referred to as Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy (PDH).

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.2 PDH Multiplexing (1/3)

The common base for the multiplex levels of plesiochronous bearers is represented by the 64 kbit/s channel. Starting from this common base, the hierarchical levels are divided into different branches. One branch describes the multiplex levels of plesiochronous bearers in the Japanese standard, one further branch shows the multiplex levels of the American standard and a third one describes the conditions of the European standard. Within the European standard the multiplex level 1 is made up of bearers with a data rate of 2.048 Mbit/s. This rate is formed by the PCM-30 frame. The Japanese and American standards possess a data rate of 1.544 Mbit/s. In this case, 24 channels of 64 kbit/s each are multiplexed together. Multiplex level 2 is achieved by multiplexing 4 bearers of level 1. For the Japanese and American standards, this represents a multiplexed data rate of 6.321 Mbit/s. The European standard has a combined data rate of 8.448 Mbit/s for multiplex level 2. In the European multiplex structure 4 bearers each of the corresponding hierarchical level are multiplexed together to obtain the bearer for the next higher multiplex level.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.2 PDH Multiplexing (2/3)

From hierarchical level 3 upwards, bearers are different in the Japanese and the American standards. In the Japanese multiplex structure, 5 bearers from level 2 are multiplexed. Multiplex level 3 therefore contains bearers with a data rate of 32.064 Mbit/s. On the other hand, bearers at level 3 in the American standard possess a data rate of 44.736 Mbit/s, because 7 bearers of level 2 are multiplexed. Bearers of level 4 are formed from 6 bearers of level 3 in the American standard. Level 4, with a data rate of 274.176 Mbit/s is the highest level of plesiochronous bearers in the American multiplex structure. In the Japanese standard, only 3 bearers of level 3 are multiplexed to form one bearer of level 4 with a data rate of 97.728 Mbit/s. If 4 bearers of level 4 are multiplexed, a bearer with a data rate of 397.200 Mbit/s will be obtained. A bearer of this datarate represents the 5th level of plesiochronous signals in the Japanese multiplex structure.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.2 PDH Multiplexing (3/3)

In order to change over between the different multiplex structures, so called transition multiplexers were created. With their support it's possible, for example to multiplex 3 bearers of level 1 of the European standard into one bearer of level 2 of the other two standards. Another crossover exists between level 3 of the American standard and level 4 of the European standard. Here it's possible to convert 3 bearers of a data rate of 44.736 Mbit/s to one bearer of 139.264 Mbit/s.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.3 Limitations of PDH (1/2)

Each step increase in capacity was made by adding yet another layer of multiplexing. This was to maintain the large investments made in earlier generations of plesiochronous transmission equipment. This has created the situation where each data link has a rigid physical and electrical multiplexing hierarchy at either end. Once multiplexed, there is no simple way an individual E1 bearer can be identified, let alone extracted, without fully demultiplexing down to the E1 level again as shown in the animation.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.3 Limitations of PDH (2/2)

Another significant problem of the Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy (PDH) comes when bearers have to be transported worldwide. At the borders between the areas of influence of the different standards, special converters are needed to adapt the bearer data rates to the corresponding standards. The Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy lacks the flexibility we expect from a worldwide operating data transmission system.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.4 Benefits of SDH

These problems led to the creation of a new technology, the Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH). SDH is based on a worldwide standard. Digitally transmitted bearers may be transported across borders without changing the transmission standard. Standardized interfaces allow the connection of different network elements made by different manufacturers. Additional transmission capacity for Network Management tasks is also available. Another important advantage of SDH is the possibility of direct access to the basic channels. Let's look closer at this access method. The digital signals transported within a synchronous data stream may be accessed without extensive multiplexing and demultiplexing procedures. Independent of the data rates, user signals may be incorporated or extracted directly to or from the data stream.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.5 ITU-T Multiplex Scheme (1/3)

In order to facilitate the changeover from the plesiochronous to the synchronous technology, SDH technology allows the insertion of existing plesiochronous network structures into a synchronous network. To do this, the plesiochronous digital bearers are packed into predetermined SDH structures. This procedure is called mapping. The transport units for plesiochronous bearers within the SDH technology are called Container C. The SDH system define several containers for the plesiochronous bearers of the different hierarchical levels. If these containers are completed with additional information, Virtual Containers (VC) are created.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.5 ITU-T Multiplex Scheme (2/3)

The synchronous transport module is the multiplex frame in SDH. The frame with a data rate of 155.52 Mbit/s is called Synchronous Transport Module first order (STM1). Higher order transport modules are created by multiplexing several lower order transport modules. At this time, transport modules of the first order STM-1, fourth order STM-4 and sixteenth order STM-16 are in use. An STM-4 module consists of 4 STM-1 modules and an STM-16 module of 16 STM-1 modules, which are multiplexed together.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.5 ITU-T Multiplex Scheme (3/3)

Starting from the American synchronous transmission standard SONET, the International Standards Body ITU-T defined the SDH multiplex structure. Using these multiplex structures, plesiochronous digital bearers of different data rates may be inserted into synchronous transport modules. Within the ITU-T Multiplexing Scheme, the following multiplexing alternatives are foreseen: 140 Mbit/s bearers are mapped into the synchronous transport system using container C-4. Bearers with data rates of 34 Mbit/s or 45 Mbit/s use containers C-3. If bearers with a 6 Mbit/s data rate should be mapped, a C-2 container will be used. Further possibilities exist for 2 Mbit/s bearers via container C-12 and for 1.5 Mbit/s bearers via container C-11. Using the ITU-T multiplex scheme, every possibility to map plesiochronous bearers into synchronous data streams is available.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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1.6 ETSI Multiplex Scheme

The European Standard Institute ETSI has defined a multiplex scheme, that only includes part of the possibilities for mapping plesiochronous bearers into the synchronous hierarchy. Some of the structures related to American transmission standards are omitted in the European version. This leads to SDH networks that are earsier to build and less expensive. The ETSI multiplex scheme is the base for all following considerations.

SDH Basics, Version 2.0

T.O.P BusinessInteractive GmbH

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