Oct. 6, 1999 MURRAY HILL, N.J. – Expanding the capabilities of the prototype GigaChannel™ Ethernet multiplexer unveiled just four months ago, scientists from Lucent Technologies (NYSE:LU) Bell Labs have built the world’s first 10-gigabit-per-second (Gb/s) Ethernet multiplexer that is compatible with dense wavelength division mutiplexing (DWDM) transport.
DWDM is a technology that uses multiple wavelengths, or colors, of light to transmit information on a single strand of optical fiber. The multiplexer delivers up to an eight-fold increase in transmission capacity on a single DWDM wavelength compared with the fastest current Ethernet standard.
The vast majority of Internet and local area network traffic originates in the Ethernet format, a transport protocol for network services.
The researchers have succeeded in adding DWDM-compatible optics to the prototype GigaChannel Ethernet multiplexer shown at the Networld+Interop conference in May and demonstrated the enhanced experimental system at the National Fiber Optics Engineers Conference (NFOEC)last week.
The experimental GigaChannel Ethernet multiplexer combines up to eight independent gigabit Ethernet signals into a single 10 Gb/s signal stream, enabling switches, routers and servers to connect at 10 Gb/s in native Ethernet format without the need for protocol conversion. The prototype complies with today’s IEEE Gigabit Ethernet standard.
The NFOEC demonstration runs over Lucent’s new WaveStar™ MetroPoint™ point-to-point optical networking system. The DWDM-ready GigaChannel has been demonstrated over 40 kilometers of standard single-mode fiber using WaveStar MetroPoint and also over Lucent’s flagship long-reach product, the Wavestar OLS 400G, using multiple 80-kilometer fiber spans with online erbium-doped optical amplifiers and dispersion compensation.
“This 10-gigabit DWDM-compatible Ethernet transmission experiment opens exciting possibilities for native Ethernet optical networking and long-haul transport,” said Ronald Schmidt, research vice president, Bell Labs Silicon Valley. “It takes maximum advantage of wavelength capacity by operating at 10 Gb/s per wavelength. It provides lean and efficient transport by remaining in the native Ethernet format, adding no additional transmission overhead to the link.
“This technology promises to be an attractive solution for enterprise access, metro access, or even metro ring applications. It’s designed to benefit carriers who want to lease gigabit Ethernet signals in their network or to Internet service providers who need to aggregate large amounts of gigabit Ethernet traffic.”
Since the prototype contains DWDM-compatible optics, it does not need to connect through an optical translator unit but is plugged directly into the input optical filters and, at the far end, extracts the signal from the output optical filters.
The native Ethernet framing is preserved, as are the payload, virtual LAN (VLAN) tagging, quality of service, and other Layer-2 and Layer-3 services. In addition, standardized link aggregation protocols can be used to trunk gigabit channels carried by the GigaChannel just as though they were separate gigabit links. Future 10-gigabit products will require all of these capabilities.
Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., designs, builds and delivers a wide range of public and private networks, communications systems and software, and business telephone systems and microelectronics components. Bell Labs is the research and development arm of the company.
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