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Sycamore develops universal card for metro optical switch

Posted: 07 May 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sycamore networks? metro optical switching system? universal service card? sn16000? optical switch?

Sycamore Networks is moving the point of modularity in its metro optical switching systems from the slot level to the card level with the release of a Universal Service Card that can support Sonet, Gigabit Ethernet, and 10GbE traffic streams.

Modularity has been one of the key buzz words surrounding the development of metro networking equipment for the past few years. With carriers looking to supplement existing Sonet services with packet services, carriers have been pushing metro box manufacturers to deliver systems that blend Ethernet and Sonet services.

To make this happen, equipment vendors have built dedicated Ethernet line cards that allow carriers to blend packet and Sonet capabilities on a slot-by-slot basis. Now, through the development of its Universal Service Card, Sycamore is hoping to take that modularity down to the card level.

"We are providing the ability to take modularity to the next level," said Bob Travis, director of marketing at Sycamore. "We're letting carriers mix services on a card."

To make this card modularity happen, Sycamore has developed a baseboard that can support four line interface modules (LIMs). Currently, four LIMs are available: a 4 x OC-48 module, a 1 x OC-192 module, a 10 x Gigabit Ethernet module, and a 1 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet module.

In its initial configuration, the Universal Service Card can be configured to support two slots of Ethernet traffic and two slot of Sonet traffic. Over time, however, Travis said Sycamore plans to build a card that allows designers to mix Sonet and Ethernet traffic in any way.

In addition to providing modularity on the service front, Sycamore is also providing flexibility on the optical reach front. Through pluggable optics, the line interface modules can support long reach, short reach, intermediate reach, and dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) operation.

The Universal Service Card is designed for the company's SN16000 optical switch, which is aimed at metro core and aggregation applications. The baseboard and line interface modules will be available over the summer. In its initial form, the card will only support Sonet or Ethernet operation. However, by the fall, Sycamore plans to provide a software upgrade for the system that will allow designers to blend Sonet and Ethernet services on the Universal Service Card.

- Robert Keenan

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