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Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks

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Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Broadband Network Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Metro Area Network Infrastructure. . . . . . . 11 Elements of a 10GbE Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Differences Between 1GbE and 10GbE . . . . . . . 23 Elements of DWDM for the MAN . . . . . . . . . . 23 Building 10GbE/DWDM Metro Networks. . . . . 25 The Advantages of 10 Gigabit Ethernet over DWDM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Glossary of Terms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

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About the Editor

Jerry Ryan is a principal at ATG and the Editor-in-Chief of He is the author of numerous technology papers on various aspects of networking. Mr. Ryan has developed and taught many courses in network analysis and design for carriers, government agencies, and private industry. He has provided consulting support in the area of WAN and LAN network design, negotiation with carriers for contract pricing and services, technology acquisition, customized software development for network administration, billing and auditing of telecommunication expenses, project management, and RFP generation. Mr. Ryan has been a member of the Networld+Interop Program Committee and the ComNet Steering Committee. He holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering.

The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.
Albert Einstein

The Guide format and main text of this Guide are the property of The Applied Technologies Group, Inc. and is made available upon these terms and conditions. The Applied Technologies Group reserves all rights herein. Reproduction in whole or in part of the main text is only permitted with the written consent of The Applied Technologies Group. The main text shall be treated at all times as a proprietary document for internal use only. The main text may not be duplicated in any way, except in the form of brief excerpts or quotations for the purpose of review. In addition, the information contained herein may not be duplicated in other books, databases or any other medium. Making copies of this Guide, or any portion for any purpose other than your own, is a violation of United States Copyright Laws. The information contained in this Guide is believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed to be complete or correct. Any case studies or glossaries contained in this Guide or any Guide are excluded from this copyright. Copyright 2000, The Applied Technologies Group, Inc., 209 West Central Street, Suite 301, Natick, MA 01760, Tel: (508) 651-1155, Fax: (508) 651-1171 E-mail: Web Site:

Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks

The need to expand metropolitan network capacity to accommodate high-speed wide area networks is well recognized but finding innovative, cost-effective solutions has not been easy. Many metropolitan network service providers have been deploying SONET and Wave Division Multiplexing across existing fiber despite the difficulties in supporting existing customer networks, particularly Ethernet. A new solution is emerging - 10 Gb/s Ethernet over DWDM fiber - that offers the advantages of speed, flexibility, scalability, and technical simplicity. Extensions to existing Ethernet standards have proven to be both feasible to develop and practical to implement. The 10 Gb/s Ethernet standard, currently being developed by the IEEE with the assistance of the 10GEA Committee, will be completed in early 2002 and then used for open systems deployment. In the meantime, proprietary pre-standard products can provide interim support for Ethernet networks in campus and metro environments. Interfaces are being provided for a variety of transmission media, including both single mode and WDM fiber. As companies move to begin supplying 10 Gb/s Ethernet products, certain questions still remain. For example, how will 10 Gb/s Ethernet compare to the existing versions of Ethernet? What functions, features and frame structure will apply? What services can be expected from service providers? This Technology Guide examines the driving forces for 10 Gb/s Ethernet standardization, looks at the specific opportunities for metropolitan network service providers, and shows how 10 Gb/s Ethernet can fit into a broadband network infrastructure. The ongoing efforts in the standardization of 10 Gb/s Ethernet will be highlighted.

Network service providers face a variety of challenges as they seek to capitalize on the opportunities resulting from emerging technologies, from advances in network standards and from ever more demanding user requirements. Telecommunications industry deregulation has resulted in increased competition, has certainly stimulated innovation and has helped to reduce service prices. At the Metro Area Network (MAN) level, there is now tremendous pressure for expanded capacity to support broadband local access and high-speed wide area networks, especially the Internet. All of these factors suggest that a flexible, proven MAN architecture combined with multi-vendor compatible implementations is urgently needed so that new provider services can be introduced. Standardsbased 10 Gb/s Ethernet (10GbE), especially combined with metro area optical fiber networks based on Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM), promises to be a viable solution it offers a hierarchy of speeds, end-to-end protocol consistency, and technical features that are needed by both providers and users. Fundamentally, the push to develop 10GbE is being driven by the desire to interconnect Ethernet LANs that may now be operating at 10, 100 or 1,000 Megabits/second. New types of applications for Ethernet include application and content hosting, Internet-based data centers, server co-location and others that go beyond the traditional enterprise. This Technology Guide first examines these new application and infrastructure requirements to see why 10GbE has become an attractive option for LAN and WAN packet transport. Next, the potential for 10GbE deployment in both the MAN and the WAN is investigated.

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Standards for 10GbE are being developed by the IEEE (the 802.3ae committee) and will be promoted in the marketplace by the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Alliance (10GEA). Completion of the formal standardization process is expected by early 2002, with conforming products and deployments arriving shortly thereafter. In the meantime, pre-standard products are becoming available to support existing Ethernet networks in a campus or metro environment. This Technology Guide examines the progress of standards development and compares 10GbE to earlier Ethernet standards. It also discusses the advantages of using DWDM to provide physical connectivity for Ethernet. Ethernet as an end-to-end network solution is a new concept, one that may come as a surprise to many network architects and designers. Ethernet, originally conceived only for use in local networks, is gradually being accepted at the MAN and WAN levels. This Technology Guide reviews the benefits of having Ethernet compatibility across local and metro networks and indeed from end-to-end.

Broadband Network Applications

The rapid growth rate of the Internet has generated a considerable amount of publicity and is perhaps subject to just as much debate. Expectations among users, providers and the general public are currently at an all time high in short, the Internet has already changed and is expected to continue to change the face of telecommunications. Its shear size and its growing importance to business means that consistent technical

standards and common practices have to be implemented on a global scale. All the functionality and capability that will be needed for the next generation of applications must also be included in these standards. Much greater control over resources must be allowed, providers must be able to guarantee performance, and scalability must be improved by at least an order of magnitude. The re-emergence of Metropolitan Area Networks is being stimulated by the growth in e-commerce and the outsourcing of key enterprise services such as extranets, back-office automation, telecommuting, content/web hosting, and application services. In the early days of the Internet, a simple, low-bandwidth link offering a best effort class of service was readily available and easily used but these low speeds are no longer sufficient. Advanced applications include video streaming, voice telephony, and on-line music distribution, all depend on continuous access to a broadband network infrastructure. These applications can no longer be regarded as bleeding edge. Today's business-critical applications depend on the network being available at all times, especially with transaction-based systems such as online purchasing, application hosting and soft product distribution. Applications that reside on a provider's host or are co-located with a network backbone provider also depend on high-quality, intelligent networks. 10GbE solutions appear to be widely applicable to these types of challenges while also remaining highly familiar to users and well-proven in the marketplace. Examples of these new classes of application are listed in Table 1.

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Table 1: Emerging 10GbE Applications

Application Area High speed Internet access General Requirements The aggregate Internet bandwidth requirements increase as the number of Internet users grows. The amount of time each user spends on the Internet is also increasing due to new applications that are being deployed. Newer applications typically also require more bandwidth and, in many cases, higher quality of service. LANs must be interconnected for distributed communications, for remote servers and for home office access. Since Ethernet dominates the LAN environment, seamless connectivity among geographically distributed Ethernet segments is highly desirable. Servers that were once distributed to the department level have now been consolidated into more central server "farms" that have to support high transaction rates. Server networks need high bandwidths to minimize congestion and delay. The service provider's Point of Presence interconnects the Local Access and Core Metro layers and may also include access to the server farms. The POP itself could include multiple networked switches to enhance scalability and reliability and to minimize congestion. Real-time data transfer places demands on the network that can often be offset by using higher capacities. Internet radio, voice over IP and video on demand are real-time communications applications. For example, video data streams are by nature high bandwidth and jitter sensitive. This type of data transport, either broadcast or on-demand, is only practical when a broadband infrastructure is available. Metro networks, which provide the bridge between high speed WANs and LANs, must not become a performance bottleneck. Application Area Telecommuting/SOHO General Requirements A home office network should be capable of operating at the same speeds as the office LAN and provide a transparent connection between the two LANs. Provision of metro or regional Ethernet connectivity supports an office LAN that extends to the home with virtually no degradation in service. Various applications are emerging that would only be acceptable when large amounts of data can be transferred while a person waits (i.e., almost in real-time). Software downloading and music distribution are just two examples of these new applications.

Corporate LAN interconnection

High speed data transport

Back-end server connections

The common threads among these applications are: A demand for higher bandwidth: Metro area bandwidth requirements have expanded rapidly as a result of application outsourcing, campus/building connections and the general growth in Internet traffic. New co-location services require high speed communications for data centers, application hosting, etc. The new last mile solutions (xDSL, wireless broadband, etc.) are also forcing metro network providers to upgrade network capacity to keep up with their customers. Provision of feature-rich services: Although having larger pipes is fundamental, the real key to competitive success is to create value-added services. Rapid service provisioning, priority services, and integrated management are examples of facilities that need to be built into an intelligent network. Service features should also be transparent and consistent across the LAN, MAN, and WAN environments. End-to-end management of these services (and the service features) is
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Inter- and intra-POP connections

Real-time streaming

Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks

important, especially if system management is outsourced. Integration and convergence: The mix and characteristics of the traffic on the network is changing as a result of convergence. Applications such as IPbased telephony and streaming video are gaining acceptance and are being combined with conventional data transfer. Converged networks generally depend heavily on the ability to manage and control the quality of the network service. Convergence solutions increase the traffic engineering requirements for both the LAN and the MAN. Accessibility/connectivity: Traffic patterns have changed from LAN-centric (where the server and the clients are typically on the same LAN segment) to MAN- or WAN-centric. The emergence of application service providers, for example, means that all the traffic must flow to an external hosting location. Connectivity is no longer primarily focused on a local workgroup it now includes a much greater emphasis on regional networks. Quality and reliability: Network quality and reliability have become important issues for both users and providers. Reliability can be defined both for the network elements (which can fail) and for the network services (which can degrade or even become unavailable). Most systems both in the enterprise and at the application service provider now depend on having a network that operates within specified performance limits on a 24 hour/day, 7 day/week basis. Outages, packet losses, and degraded services become increasingly disruptive as the transmission speeds increase.

Ethernet began its life as a high-speed alternative to star-wired copper in premises networks, with its focus being on serving local applications. Over time Ethernet has been transformed into a generic networking technology for local, campus, metropolitan, and most recently for wide area networks. It has proven to be scalable (from 10Mb/s to 10Gb/s and likely beyond), flexible (multiple media, full/half duplex, shared and switched modes), easy to install and generally quite robust. Deployment of full-duplex Gigabit Ethernet over dark fiber using long reach optics has eliminated the distance barriers previously associated with Ethernet technology. Use of Ethernet on an end-to-end basis is very attractive to both enterprise users and co-location providers because of its simplicity, its familiarity and its relatively low cost. The emergence of 10GbE creates new options for data transport over optical fiber and extends the value and life of Ethernet technology.

The Metro Area Network Infrastructure

Metropolitan networks are undergoing a radical transformation. Developments in last mile and fiber optic technologies, combined with the demands of the new applications described in the previous section, have put pressure on service providers and infrastructure vendors to improve their services. Figure 1 illustrates the basic elements of a metro network solution and its relationship to access and long distance networks.


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Wide Area Network

WAN Access

public network, and server access networks. A local access network includes all the network elements between the provider's POP and the customer's end system. The two major access network components are: customer-owned LANs (with building, riser and campus levels), and the MAN access link (which is usually provider-owned). Ethernet is the dominant technology for the LAN at both the floor and backbone levels, often using a mix of the older shared media and newer switched media networks. Networks have traditionally been 10 Mb/s to the desktop (i.e., basic Ethernet), with 100Mb/s to the desktop now becoming the standard, and with 100Mb/s or 1Gb/s being used for high performance users and external access. The MAN access link is the infamous last mile between the MAN or WAN provider and the customer premises. The demarcation point (the point of responsibility hand-off from the network provider to the customer) can be located at the customer premises interface or at the provider's POP. The access link is often based on copper wire technologies, such as time division multiplexing, and has been relatively low in speed (especially when compared to Gigabit Ethernet). Aggressive fiber deployment in major metro areas and advances in last mile access technologies, such as wireless broadband and free space optics, remove this as a bottleneck and permit Ethernet to be used as the link protocol. b) Metro Core Networks The metro core network must interface to both the local access network and the WAN access network. Historically, metropolitan area connectivity has been provided by SONET rings which were designed and built to carry voice traffic. However,

Metro Area Optical Network

Local Access Network

Remote Access Network

Server Access Network

Figure 1: LAN-MAN-WAN Networks

Three different levels exist in any enterprise network infrastructure: a) Access Networks There are three classes of access networks: local access networks between a Point of Presence (POP) and the customer premises network, remote access networks for off-site communications using a
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most of the traffic growth in these networks is now due to data applications. Data traffic volume has already surpassed voice traffic volume in many metropolitan areas. The SONET transport infrastructure is not optimized for data traffic and cannot scale to support the rapid growth of the Internet in a cost effective manner. Metro service providers are looking for cost efficient, data-optimized solutions to replace existing SONET infrastructures. Metropolitan networks and their providers need to evolve to meet the future application needs and to remain competitive. Provision of value-added services as an integral part of the provider's infrastructure is one of the steps that needs to be taken. c) Wide Area Networks WANs have always been an essential ingredient in any large enterprises network infrastructure. Various technologies have been used for low and high speed WAN transport including time division multiplexing, circuit switching, and packet switching. Ethernet has only recently become a possible solution at this level. Metropolitan networks serve largely as a middleman for other networks, as is suggested in Figure 1. This involves considerably more than providing a simple high speed connectivity service, however. In fact, it is the value-added services and features that serve to differentiate one metropolitan network provider from another. A service-rich platform should include the following features: Leverage the existing infrastructure: Service providers must offer advanced capabilities to support the services delivered over the metro network. Content and application hosting, for example,
Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks

require intelligent caching, load distribution, and secure service partitioning without loss of performance. At the same time, access network providers require dynamic self-provisioning (i.e., adding a new customer should not require revising the physical plant) to reduce operating costs and to maintain customer satisfaction. The metro infrastructure must provide security to protect customer data, reliability to route around failures, and scalability to maintain ROI throughout hectic subscriber acquisition and growth cycles. Bandwidth control and service provisioning: Service providers that make optimal use of their resources are more profitable. Bandwidth control and rapid service provisioning are among the important functions that network equipment must now perform, providing one of many opportunities for charging on the basis of service levels. Managing data flows, multiplexing lower speed data streams, and limiting network accessibility are examples of functions that manage the consumption of network bandwidth. Delivering services to the customer on short notice can be very important, especially when the service is viewed as competitive and a commodity. The ability to set up and tear down the network links and to provision optical bandwidth in bit-level increments, with minimal time and effort involved, reduces costs and retains customer loyalty. Intelligent bandwidth provisioning and advanced traffic engineering is the launch point for differentiated services for customers. It also allows service providers to scale and auto-provision their optical bandwidth according to business metrics, thus creating profits by capturing revenue that would otherwise be lost. Traffic engineering: As optical networks begin to deliver almost unlimited bandwidth to end users, service providers need to deliver differentiated
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services dynamically. Various functions can be applied to the incoming traffic and to traffic flows in order to improve its overall network performance. Service classes for example, can be based on the identity of the customer or the type of application. Service providers can use traffic engineering either to offer different service levels or to ensure service quality for time-critical traffic such as voice or video. Through the use of routing (BGP, IS-IS, OSPF), multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), virtual private networks (VPNs) and differentiated services (DiffServ), the next generation of switch-routers should be able to set priorities and offer advanced traffic engineering and hardware-based rate limiting throughout the network. Real-time accounting: The transition from selling commodity optical bandwidth to selling services will require that carriers and service providers build an infrastructure that allows them to handleand profit from business traffic. They must be able to monitor bandwidth usage to ensure that customers are getting what they were allocated and have paid for, and then be able to reliably account and bill for these allocations in real-time. Service providers also need the intelligence to identify customers who consistently bump up against their limits because therein lies an opportunity to sell additional services. By providing an open application-programming interface (API), integration with billing and provisioning systems, and existing operations support systems (OSS) can be achieved more easily. This intelligence enables service providers to quickly provision and deliver advanced services to their customers. Compatibility: Older networks must also be accommodated, with the goal being to avoid re-designing local networks. As more and more networks
Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks

migrate to IP, interoperability between IP and other communications technologies will become a larger concern for service providers. Support should be available for all copper, cable, and fiber media types to ensure that services can be quickly delivered to any customer in any environment. Any of the major infrastructure types, including ATM, Packet over SONET, DWDM, Gigabit Ethernet, T1 or T3, and coaxial cable should also be supported. Metro network evolution must be achieved in a way that guarantees interoperability with the vast base of already installed local and wide area networks (legacy networks). In short, bandwidth control and accounting not just simple bandwidth availability lie at the heart of the new business-oriented Internet and managed network services; without these capabilities, profitable service delivery for the metro area is impossible.

Elements of a 10GbE Solution

The overall goals of the IEEE standards effort is to extend the existing IEEE802.3 standards to support 10Gb/s speeds and to enhance Ethernet to include support for WAN links. Standards for 10GbE will be produced as an extension to the existing IEEE standards with the basic changes being at the Physical Layer. The physical media to be supported by 10GbE products are currently being specified, with the first draft of the proposed standard due to be available in the fall of 2000. Ethernet was first developed over twenty years ago to provide a solution for high speed data communications within a building. The first IEEE and the ISO standards were for use with a bus-oriented coaxial
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cable, offering a shared half-duplex service at a speed of 10Mb/s. This initial standard has evolved considerably: copper, fiber optic, and wireless media have been added; switched, star-wired operations have largely replaced shared media; full-duplex operation has been added; and speeds have increased to 100Mb/s and more recently to 1Gb/s. Other standards have been developed for a Management Information Base (MIB) for network management, for supporting virtual LANs and for quality of service extensions. Since Ethernet operations and performance characteristics have been studied extensively, considerable experience is now available among the manufacturers, the network providers, and enterprise customers. The following were among the criteria used by the IEEE committee to determine the suitability of standardizing 10GbE: Technical feasibility: The 10GbE standard had to be technically feasible and implementable using existing proven technology. Working models of the implemented standard should be available prior to its finalization. Reliability should be at least equal to earlier Ethernet standards. Standards conformance: Ethernet networks that operate at different speeds need to be compatible (i.e., 10GbE has to be Ethernet in more than in name only) in order for scalability to be preserved. Most of the benefits of end-to-end Ethernet would be lost if gateways between segments were necessary.

Broad market potential: Any network technology that aims to be strategic and ubiquitous must be adaptable to a wide range of applications and provide distinct benefits over competing solutions. Since Ethernet access links at 100Mb/s and 1Gb/s are now being used, the core networks must be able to aggregate multiple access links. The number of vendors that are committed to producing standards-based 10GbE products indicates a definite market appeal. Distinct identity: The 10GbE standard should be a unique solution, thereby avoiding mutually incompatible competing solutions. Ideally, the standard would be a simple extension to the existing IEEE802.3 standards without any need for unique features. Related standards, such as the MIB, should also be straightforward extensions of the current lower speed standards. Economic feasibility: The costs associated with producing the new products, implementing the solutions and maintaining the implemented networks should be reasonable when compared to other versions of Ethernet and competitive technologies. Costs should be reasonable for the performance expected. Figure 2 illustrates the functional elements that are defined by the Ethernet standards. There are two functional layers (as per the OSI model): the Physical Layer (PHY), and the Data Link Layer. In order for 10GbE to look like traditional Ethernet to its users, the MAC user interface must be the same.


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MAC Control Media Access Control (MAC)

Table 2 lists the distance specifications that are the current targets for 10GbE implementations.
Table 2: Distance Targets for 10GbE
Type of Fiber Targeted Distances (m)


10G Media Independent Interface (XGMII)

Existing installed multi-mode fiber Multi-mode fiber Single-mode fiber

100m 300m 2km, 10km, 40km

Physical Coding Sublayer (PCS) Physical Media Attachment (PMA) Physical Media Dependent (PMD)

Source: Tables in this section are based on work in progress in the IEEE which is summarized at

Media Dependent Interface (MDI)

Media (Optical Fiber)

Figure 2: Ethernet Functional Components

a) LAN/MAN Media A number of alternative media types are being considered for LAN/MAN environments. Since 10GbE is not expected to connect directly to user end-systems (at least not yet) the standards are initially being restricted to optical fiber. Options being considered for the optical layer include Multi-mode fiber (MMF) and Single-mode fiber (SMF) using serial and parallel links. b) WAN Media The concept of Ethernet-based communications over long distances is unique to 10GbE and would not be feasible using the original CSMA/CD protocol (i.e., shared media with contention). The restriction to full-duplex operation allows 10GbE to operate over long link spans, repeaters and other transport layers like DWDM or SONET. 10GbE WAN physical layer is also defined to be compatible with SONET. It can be said that 10GbE will be SONET friendly even though it is not fully compliant to all of the SONET standards. Some SONET features are still to be implemented: the OC-192 link speed, the use of SONET framing, and some over head processing. Others, the most costly aspects of SONET, will be
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Optical Media/Physical Media Dependent (PMD) Sublayer

Increases in the speed of Ethernet have been made possible largely by advances in fiber optics and signal processing technologies. Since transmission capacity and segment distance are strongly influenced by the characteristics of the media being used, each new generation of Ethernet involves the development of new Physical Layer standards. Two families of PHY (consisting of the PCS, PMA, and PMD sublayers) are currently under development: a LAN PHY operating at 10Gb/s, and a WAN PHY operating at a data rate compatible with the payload rate of OC-192c and SDH VC-4-64c.
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avoided: TDM support, performance requirements, and management requirements. SONET, which was designed primarily for voice applications, supports point-to-point links operating at a well-defined hierarchy of speeds (i.e., OC-1 at 51.840 Mb/s up to OC-192 at 9,953.281Mb/s).

Differences Between 1GbE and 10GbE

Table 3 provides a brief comparison between the 1Gb/s and 10Gb/s versions of Ethernet. There are several important restrictions that apply to 10GbE: the traditional CSMA/CD protocol will not be used, and copper wiring will not be an option (at least not for end station links).
Table 3: Comparison of 1GbE to 10GbE
Characteristic 1 Gigabit Ethernet (1GbE) 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE)

Physical Media Attachment (PMA) Sublayer

The PMA provides for the serialization and deserialization of the data being transmitted. It is responsible for supporting multiple encoding schemes since each PMD will use an encoding that is suited to the specific media it supports.

Physical media

Physical Coding Sublayer (PCS)

The PCS sublayer provides for packet delineation and scrambling for the LAN PHY. Various proposals are under consideration (8B/10B encoding was used for Gigabit Ethernet and was adopted from the ANSI standard Fiber Channel).


Optical and copper media LANs up to 5km.

Optical media only LANs to 40km. Direct attachment to SONET/SDH equipment for WANs Creates new optical PMD's Establishes new coding schemes Full-Duplex only

PMD PCS MAC protocol

Media Access Control (MAC) Sublayer

The MAC sublayer, the highest layer defined in the Ethernet standards, must conform to the existing standards in order to maintain compatibility across all speeds. The scope of the IEEE802.3 standards work is to define MAC parameters and, if necessary, a minimal augmentation of MAC operation for the full duplex transfer of LLC and Ethernet format frames at 10Gb/s. Several proposals have been made to incorporate pacing into the operation of the MAC sublayer. This is needed to accommodate the mismatch between MAC speed and the line transmission rate. There is, as yet, no final decision on how this function will be standardized.
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Leverages Fiber Channel PMD's Re-uses 8B/10B coding Half-duplex (CSMA/CD) + FullDuplex Carrier extension for Half-duplex

Throttle MAC speed

Derived from: A Brief Introduction to 802.3ae available at

Elements of DWDM for the MAN

The Internet has been transformed into a web of interconnected MANs, with inexpensive optical fiber being the underpinnings for the new MAN infrastructure. Technical advances in infrastructure equipment are breaking the bandwidth bottleneck. This transforTechnology Guide


mation is being driven by two areas of technological innovation: High-speed access technologies have eliminated the local loop, last-mile bottleneck. In the local loop, broadband access including Ethernet, wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), and wireless is bringing high-speed connectivity to small and medium-sized businesses. The introduction of DWDM allows orders of magnitude increases in bandwidth on a given strand of fiber. In the carrier backbone, and an ever-increasing part of the Metro core, DWDM switches are replacing traditional SONET switches. This creates a plentiful supply of costeffective bandwidth in the metropolitan core. Combining basic transmission capacity with rapid service provisioning and dynamic wavelength management greatly reduces the cost and deployment time for a MAN infrastructure. Wave Division Multiplexing is a technology that enables multiple optical signals to be transmitted by a single fiber using the 1300 or 1500nm wavelength windows. Initially, each window was used to transmit a single digital signal (this was called WDM). An increase to allow 4 channels has been called Wide WDM (WWDM). With current technologies, over 100 optical channels can be multiplexed onto a single fiber, this is referred to as Dense WDM, or DWDM. Adding new terminating equipment to increase the number of channels is much less expensive than physically laying new fiber. The key elements of a WDM link are: Lasers are used as transmitters, one for each wavelength. DWDM systems can be pre-built with lasers that can be turned on or off whenever the wavelength is allocated to a user;
Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks

An optical multiplexer combines the optical signals for transmission over the fiber strand; Optical amplifiers are used to pump up the optical signal power and to compensate for system losses; An optical demultiplexer separates the received signal into its components for delivery to receivers that then convert the signal back to electrical form; Optical signals can be added and removed from a system using Optical Add Drop Multiplexers (OADMs) which groom and split the optical signals along the transmission path. Currently, WDM systems are required to convert to and from electrical signals, perform cross-connections and to do switching. The next generation of WDM optical transport networks will eliminate this step by supporting optical switching. An optical transport network will support lightpaths at up to several gigabits per second that can be established and released using a dynamic management system (rather than through static configurations). Since DWDM solutions are not bound by the bandwidth hierarchy defined for SONET (e.g., OC-48 at 2488.32Mb/s or OC-192 at 9953.28Mb/s), they can be adapted for use directly with Ethernet.

Building 10GbE/DWDM Metro Networks

A question that many metro network providers will soon need to answer is how to incorporate 10GbE into their network infrastructure. As the number of 100Mb/s Ethernet links at the edge of their networks

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increases, so will the need for 10GbE to aggregate 1Gb/s links in data centers and in the backbone. 10GbE has a role to play in metro and regional networks, but how the architecture and configurations will develop is less clear at this stage. Alternatives for building a full-function Ethernetbased metro network to support IP transport are illustrated in Figure 3 (existing technologies such as FDDI, ATM, and SONET are not included here).

the anticipated demand. Network management systems can be integrated across the different network speeds and configurations. IP directly over SONET is expensive and difficult to manage when the number of links becomes large. Ethernet over SONET, on the other hand, adds a switching capability that can reduce the number of point-to-point links (i.e., a full mesh may not be required). Ethernet allows LAN, MAN, and WAN networks to be combined to form end-to-end connections, thereby reducing the need for format and protocol conversions within the network. b) Packet over Ethernet over WDM-based Optical (PEW) A variation on the above is to transport Ethernet over a WDM-based physical layer, with or without a thin SONET interface. A small subset of the SONET header and SONET scrambling is used but the majority of the overhead is eliminated. This solution avoids the complexities of SONET TDM functions, the stringent SONET physical layer specifications, and the need for a separate SONET element management system. A key advantage of PEW is that the overheads of ATM and SONET can be eliminated. Both 1GbE and 10GbE are more affordable, practical, and simpler than ATM, the major alternative for high speed WANs. c) Packet over Ethernet over Fiber (PEF) In the metro area, enterprise customers can use 10GbE over dark fiber to support requirements such as serverless buildings, remote hosting, off-site storage or backup, and disaster recovery. Metro service providers can build 10GbE backbones with less complex and costly POPs.

IP IP 10GbE 10GbE SONET [Thin SONET] DWDM/Fiber DWDM/Fiber (b) Dark Fiber 10GbE IP



Figure 3: Metro Network Architectures

a) Packet over Ethernet over SONET-based Optical (PES) IP packets can be transported directly over a full SONET infrastructure using PPP encapsulation or over an Ethernet segment built from SONET links. SONET would be preferred for long distances and could be also be used at the MAN level. Full SONET TDM capabilities, the SONET physical layer, and the various SONET management functions would all be included, resulting in considerable overhead. PES is based on proven technologies that are widely installed and well understood. Ethernet is scalable from 10Mb/s up to 10Gb/s, allowing the bandwidth offered to be more closely matched to
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Technology Guide


The various parts of a metro network were illustrated in Figure 1. 10GbE will be used for aggregating slower access links, will be used in the backbone networks of the providers, and can also provide WAN access. The choice of building blocks for a metro service provider, will depend on the existing network infrastructure, the need to interconnect older network technologies and the types of value-added services that are being considered.

The Advantages of 10 Gigabit Ethernet over DWDM

The advantages of a combined 10GbE/DWDM solution can be examined from three distinctly different perspectives: the advantages of each technology by itself, the benefits of having Ethernet as a service, and the operational/managerial advantages of end-to-end consistency. Each is important to consider when evaluating solutions to offer to customers. Given the rapidly advancing standards, metro service providers should now be examining the payback of using 10GbE when the standard is completed or even sooner with prestandard products.

Technology Advantages
Ethernet has proven to be a very adaptable, reliable, uncomplicated technology. Ethernet is considered to be a plug and play solution requiring only a minimum of planning, design, and testing. Perhaps one of the most important advantages is that the technology of Ethernet has had many years of usage and study. Both the service providers and the end users

are comfortable with Ethernet. Its use by service providers within their own environments, however, is relatively new and has yet to be tested on a wide scale. Ethernet implementations are generally standard and are interoperable and interchangeable. A large number of suppliers offer Ethernet components, which has driven the prices down and encourages continued innovation. It has been claimed that Ethernet in the wide area may cost as little as one-fifth the cost of SONET and one-tenth the cost of ATM []. Ethernet is also viewed as being media agnostic since it interfaces transparently with various transmission media including cable, copper wire, and several types of fiber. The ability to mix and match at the media level avoids significant re-wiring costs that might otherwise be necessary. DWDM (and really any form of WDM) also provides a number of advantages for metro network environments. Clearly, the most important is its ability to optimize existing fiber installations. WDM provides an alternative to SONET-based technologies, allowing a closer match of bandwidth supply to user demands while also making provisioning much more flexible and dynamic while also eliminating some of the legacy baggage of SONET technology. Optical switched networks, which will also be based on DWDM, are promising to bring new intelligent services to both enterprise-based and providerbased customers. Ethernet networks which are essentially distance insensitive will reduce costs, simplify operations, and increase performance, all without major disruptions in existing applications.


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Technology Guide


Architectural Advantages
The major advantage of Ethernet is its emerging potential to serve as a true end-to-end solution. Existing customer networks can be supported in native mode, eliminating format conversions at the network boundaries. This eliminates some of the network processing that would be needed when different data link protocols are used and, therefore, reduces complexity. Ethernet is a scalable solution. The IEEE standards currently specify Ethernet at 10 Mb/s, 100 Mb/s (Fast Ethernet), 1Gb/s (Gigabit Ethernet) and this will soon be extended to 10Gb/s. Even higher speeds are on the planning horizon and are expected to be viable in the future. Thus, network designers can start at much less than 10GbE and build up as capacity demand expands. One drawback to the use of Ethernet would be the need to interface to other legacy networks such as frame relay, ATM, and TDM access. However, this form of conversion has become a routine function of a router.

handle both the LAN and MAN facilities are an opportunity for the service provider. Using Ethernet, new services can be deployed faster. Since most customers already use Ethernet, there would be less training required.

Marketing Advantages
Although it may not seem important when compared to the technical advantages, Ethernet can be relatively easily sold to most customers. Most enterprises already have experience with Ethernet and would be willing to accept its use by service providers, especially if outsourcing is a possible option. The use of Ethernet across the MAN and WAN also expands its market penetration, increasing its popularity even further. Ethernet also provides a means to avoid re-engineering an existing network, all of which results in happier customers.

Management Advantages
Operations, administration, maintenance, and provisioning (OAM&P) the basic tasks of management systems are also improved through the use of Ethernet across the MAN and WAN. Faster bottom line profit through lower costs for equipment and support is, of course, one of the most important advantages. Network management systems can be simplified if the same system can be used at all levels of the network. Although most networks have one customercontrolled part and another provider-controlled part, the use of common facilities makes integrated management a practical alternative. Managed services that can
Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks Technology Guide


Ethernet has evolved from its shared LAN roots into one of the most important networking technologies of our time. It dominates the LAN and the desktop connection and has proven to be suitable for building and campus backbones. Moreover, Ethernet is scalable from 10 Mbps to 1Gbps today, with 10Gbps being standardized now, and with even higher speeds on the drawing boards. Ethernet over optical fiber is now used for metro networks and is being considered for wide area networking. Users and providers both consider Ethernet to be a well-known, well-understood technology, with a high comfort level among technical experts and network operators. High speed intelligent networks are becoming essential to success with newer applications such as real-time telephony, the demand that is expected to grow rapidly. Exploitation of a high-speed, service-rich infrastructure can provide a competitive edge. The extension of Ethernet to 10Gbps ensures scalability across a wide range of speeds while also promoting consistency, interoperability and manageability. Building networks using Ethernet from end-to-end reduces overall technical complexity, simplifies the network management system, and makes capacity expansion more straightforward. Optical fiber with DWDM supporting 10Gbps Ethernet will be a powerful solution for metro backbone networks. Pre-standard products are becoming available now, with full ratification of the formal standards expected to take place in March 2002. Service providers should first understand the issues and opportunities surrounding end-to-end Ethernet networks, and then should begin to incorporate 10G Ethernet into their service development and deployment plans.

Glossary of Terms
10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) The emerging IEEE standard for Ethernet operation at 10 Gbps. 10 Gigabit Ethernet Alliance(10GEA) An organization promoting the rapid deployment of 10GbE. 10 Gigabit Media Independent Interface (XGMII) The interface between the media dependent and media independent parts of the Ethernet protocol stack. Add/Drop Multiplexer (ADM) A multiplexer capable of extracting or inserting lower-rate signals from a higher-rate multiplexed signal without completely demultiplexing the signal. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) The coordinating body for voluntary standards groups within the United States. ANSI is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Application Program Interface (API) Means of communication between programs to give one program transparent access to another. Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) A cellbased, fast-packet technology that provides a protocol for transmitting voice and data over high-speed networks. ATM is a connection-oriented technology used in both LAN and WAN environments. It is asynchronous in that the recurrence of cells depends on the required or instantaneous bit rate.


Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks



Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Protocol for communications between a router in one autonomous system and routers in another. Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) A channel access mechanism wherein devices wishing to transmit first check the channel for a carrier. If no carrier is sensed for some period of time, devices can transmit. If two devices transmit simultaneously, a collision occurs and is detected by all colliding devices, which subsequently delays their retransmissions for some random length of time. CSMA/CD access is used by Ethernet and IEEE 802.3. Data Link Layer Layer 2 of the OSI reference model. This layer takes a raw transmission facility and transforms it into a channel that appears, to the network layer, to be free of transmission errors. Its main services are addressing, error detection, and flow control. Differential Services IETF Standard (DiffServ) A set of IETF standards designed to allow QoS support in IP networks by providing a means to distinguish among classes of service. Ethernet (1) A baseband LAN specification invented by Xerox Corporation and developed jointly by Xerox, Intel, and Digital Equipment Corporation. Ethernet networks operate at 10 Mbps using CSMA/CD to run over coaxial cable. Ethernet is similar to a series of standards produced by IEEE referred to as IEEE 802.3. (2) A very common method of networking computers in a local area network (LAN). Ethernet will handle about 10,000,000 bps and can be used with almost any kind of computer.

Fast Ethernet Term given to IEEE 802.3u (called Fast Ethernet) for Ethernet operating at 100 Mbps over Cat-3 or 5 UTP. Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) An emerging high-speed networking standard. The underlying medium is fiber optics, and the topology is a dual-attached, counter-rotating Token Ring. FDDI networks can often be spotted by the orange fiber cable. The FDDI protocol has also been adapted to run over traditional copper wires. An ANSI-defined standard specifying a 100 Mbps token-passing network using fiber-optic cable. Uses a dual-ring architecture to provide redundancy. Fiber Optic Cable A transmission medium that uses glass or plastic fibers, rather than copper wire, to transport data or voice signals. The signal is imposed on the fiber via pulses (modulation) of light from a laser or a light-emitting diode (LED). Because of its high bandwidth and lack of susceptibility to interference, fiber-optic cable is used in long-haul or noisy applications. Fiber Optics A method for the transmission of information (sound, pictures, data). Light is modulated and transmitted over high purity, hair-thin fibers of glass. The bandwidth capacity of fiber optic cable is much greater than that of conventional cable or copper wire. Gigabit Ethernet A 1Gbps standard for Ethernet. Gigabit Ethernet Alliance An association of Gigabit Ethernet manufacturers and suppliers formed for the purpose of promoting Gigabit Ethernet Technology.


Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks



Gigabits Per Second (Gbp/s) Billion bits per second. A measure of transmission speed. IEEE 802.1p An IEEE draft standard that extends the 802.1D Filtering Services concept to provide both prioritized traffic capabilities and support for dynamic multicast group establishment. IEEE 802.2 IEEE LAN protocol that specifies an implementation of the logical link control sub layer of the link layer. IEEE 802.2 handles errors, framing, flow control, and the Layer 3 service interface. IEEE 802.3u IEEE LAN protocol that specifies an implementation of the physical layer and MAC sub layer of the link layer. IEEE 802.3 uses CSMA/CD access at a variety of speeds over a variety of physical media. One physical variation of IEEE 802.3 (10Base5) is very similar to Ethernet. IEEE 802.5 IEEE LAN protocol that specifies an implementation of the physical layer and MAC sub layer of the link layer. IEEE 802.5 uses token passing access at 4 or 16 Mbps over shielded twisted pair wiring and is very similar to IBM Token Ring. IEEE 802.6 Standards being developed by IEEE to govern metropolitan area networking. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Professional organization that defines network standards. IEEE LAN standards are the predominant LAN standards today, including protocols similar or virtually equivalent to Ethernet and Token Ring. Management Information Base (MIB) A database of information on managed objects that can be accessed via network management protocols such as SNMP and CMIP.

Media Access Control (MAC) IEEE specifications for the lower half of the data link layer (layer 2) that defines topology dependent access control protocols for IEEE LAN specifications. Media Access Control Sub Layer (MAC Sub layer) As defined by the IEEE, the lower portion of the OSI reference model data link layer. The MAC sub layer is concerned with media access issues, such as whether token passing or contention will be used. Media Attachment Unit (MAU) In IEEE 802.3, a device that performs IEEE 802.3 Layer 1 functions, including collision detection and injection of bits onto the network. Media Independent Interface (MII) The standard in Ethernet devices to transparently interconnect the MAC sublayer and the PHY physical layer, regardless of media. Media Interface Connector (MIC) FDDI de facto standard connector. Megabit (Mb/s) One million bits per second. Megabits per Second (Mbps) A digital transmission speed of millions of bits per second. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) A data communication network covering the geographic area of a city (generally, larger than a LAN but smaller than a WAN). Multimode Fiber Optical fiber with a core diameter of 62.5 or 50 microns. Dispersion of light is greater than single mode fiber so distances are less. Multimode Fiberoptic Cable (MMF) Fiberoptic cable in which the signal of light propagates in multiple modes or paths. Since these


Building 10 Gigabit/DWDM Metro Area Networks


paths may have varying lengths, a transmitted pulse of light may be received at different times and smeared to the point that pulses may interfere with surrounding pulses. This may cause the signal to be difficult or impossible to receive. This pulse dispersion sometimes limits the distance over which a MMF link can operate supporting propagation of multiple frequencies of light. Multiple Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) A set of IETF standards that are designed to allow packet flows to be switched on the basis of labels instead of the full destination addresses, thereby promoting higher performance and allowing traffic engineering. Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) A routing protocol used in IP networks. Operation Support System (OSS) The management subsystem for provider-based networks. Operations Administration Maintenance and Provisioning (OAM&P) Tasks performed by the management and administrative systems in a network, especially with reference to public networks. Optical Add Drop Multiplexer (OADM) An ADM used with fiber optics (see ADM). Optical Cable Level 3 (OC-3) Defined standard for the optical equivalent of Synchronous Transport Signal 3 (STS 3) transmission rate or STS 3c Synchronous Optical Network Transport Systems (SONET) transmission rate. The signal rate for these standards is 155.52 Mbps. Optical Carrier 1 (OC-1) ITU-ISS physical standard for optical fiber used in transmission systems operating at 51.84 Mbps.

Optical Carrier 3 (OC-3) Optical Carrier level 3, SONET rate of 155.52 Mbit/s, matches STS-3. Optical Carrier- N (OC-N) Higher SONET level, N times 51.84 Mbit/s. Physical Coding Sublayer (PCS) One of the sublayers defined for the Ethernet protocol stack. Physical Layer (PHY) The bottom layer of the OSI and ATM protocol stack, which defines the interface between ATM traffic and the physical media. The PHY consists of two sublayers: the transmission convergence (TC) sublayer and the physical mediumdependent (PMD) sublayer. Physical Medium Dependent (PMD) A sub layer of the physical layer that interfaces directly with the physical medium and performs the most basic bit transmission functions of the network. Points of Presence (POP) A term used by Internet service providers to indicate the number of geographical locations from which they provide access to the Internet. Protocol Data Unit (PDU) A discrete piece of information like a frame or a packet in the appropriate format for encapsulation and segmentation in the payload of a cell. Quality of Service (QoS) Term for the set of parameters and their values which determine the performance of a given virtual circuit. Shared Ethernet Conventional CSMA/CD Ethernet configuration to which all stations are attached by a hub and share 10 or 100 Mbps of bandwidth. Only one session can transmit at a time. This is the most popular network type today


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Single-mode Fiber Also called monomode. Single-mode fiber has a narrow core that allows light to enter only at a single angle. Such fiber has higher bandwidth than multimode fiber, but requires a light source with a narrow spectral width (for example, a LASER). Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) ITUTSS international standard for transmission over optical fiber. Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) A set of standards for transmitting digital information over optical networks. Synchronous indicates that all pieces of the SONET signal can be tied to a single clock. A CCITT standard for synchronous transmission up to multigigabit speeds Time Division Multiplexing (TMD) A form of transmission in which different flows are combined on the basis of time slots. Transparent Bridging Bridging scheme preferred by Ethernet and IEEE 802.3 networks in which bridges pass frames along one hop at a time based on tables associating end nodes with bridge ports. Transparent bridging is so named because the presence of bridges is transparent to network end nodes. Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) A protocol (set of rules) that provides reliable transmission of packet data over networks. Wide Area Network (WAN) A network which encompasses interconnectivity between devices over a wide geographic area. Such networks would require public rights-of-way and operate over long distances.

Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM) A technology that allows multiple wavelengths to be multiplexed over a single strand of fiber. Comes in various forms including Dense and Wide depending on the number of wavelengths involved.


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Total Control for the Metro Network

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This Technology Guide is one in a series of topicfocused Guides that provides a comprehensive examination of important and emerging technologies. This series of Guides offers objective information and practical guidance on technologies related to Communications & Networking, the Internet, Computer Telephony, Document Management, Data Warehousing, Enterprise Solutions, Software Applications, and Security. Built upon the extensive experience and ongoing research of our writers and editorial team, these Technology Guides assist IT professionals in making informed decisions about all aspects of technology development and strategic deployment. is supported by a consortium of leading technology providers. Riverstone Networks has lent its support to produce this Guide. Visit our Web site at to view and print this Guide, as well as all of our other Technology Guides. This is a free service.

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