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Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet

It’s not going to be Ethernet versus Sonet in metro networks; it’s going to be Ethernet over Sonet, judging by today’s announcement from Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) (see Agilent's Got a Mapper).

Agilent has unveiled the first two members of a family of chips for funneling different types of traffic over Sonet connections. The first of these, HDMP-3001, takes in full-duplex Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit/s) line and maps it into an OC3c (155 Mbit/s) Sonet frame. The second chip, as yet unnamed, deals with full-duplex gigabit Ethernet, taking two streams of the protocol and mapping them into a single OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s) Sonet frame.

Agilent is following in the footsteps of PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS), which announced similar chips last month (see PMC Pushes Sonet Silicon).

The availability of mapper chips from two big vendors could encourage equipment manufacturers to take the plunge with Ethernet-over-Sonet (EOS) additions to metro gear such as edge switches and add/drop multiplexers.

The standard behind the chips, called the "generic framing procedure" (GFP), is relatively new, notes Jim Shupenis, Agilent's director of strategic business development. "OEMs have offered EOS for some time, but they were forced to use proprietary solutions, which weren't interoperable with other equipment, even within the same company. Now, for the first time, we have standards."

With standards finalized, vendors of merchant silicon can start to offer solutions to a broad range of customers, he adds.

Agilent's chips also implement an older standard for encapsulation called LAPS (Link Access Protocol – SDH). Put simply, GPF is better than LAPS because it can support Sonet rings, while LAPS only handles point-to-point connections, Shupenis explains. "GFP does everything that LAPS does, but more so, because it's a newer standard. And the code is more efficient, which reduces the amount of time to execute instructions inside the processor."

The second, and more complicated, Agilent chip will also implement virtual concatenation (VC), a protocol that uses Sonet bandwidth more efficiently. VC makes it possible to provision Sonet in multiples of STS1 (58.4 Mbit/s), which wastes less bandwidth than using unwieldy OC3c or OC12c (622 Mbit/s) pipes.

The smaller chip, HDMP-3001, doesn't require VC because its main application is to transport the supervisory channel in-band, says Shupenis. It's carried in the space that's left over after packing a Fast Ethernet channel into an OC3c. According to Shupenis, right now most people running 10Base-T networks use a dial-up modem to call nodes on the ring in order to get this data, which is far less convenient.

Agilent's OC48 EOS mapper will compete directly with PMC's PM9537 ARROW-2xGE chip. And, although it was announced later, Shupenis claims it could ship before the PMC chip. Both Agilent's and PMC's products are slated to sample in the same timeframe, Q1 2002.

Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR) is also dabbling in GFP and VC. In October 2001, it released what it called "an add-drop multiplexer on a chip", which is a framer with integrated STS1 crossconnect that implements these protocols (see Agere Offers Single Chip ADM).

In the future, Agilent plans to extend its product family with chips that support other data types, including storage networking protocols iSCSI, Escon, Fibre Channel, and Infiniband.

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com
Gastroenterologist 12/4/2012 | 11:06:18 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet ouch! sounds like the CEO is not exactly beloved.
fleet_line 12/4/2012 | 11:06:18 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet Seems moot, in that GFP simply encapsulates whatever you hand it. In the Ethernet case, just the preamble is tossed. I read that GFP resembles ATM except for variable length data.
poster 12/4/2012 | 11:06:18 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet "In the future, Agilent plans to extend its product family with chips that support other data types, including storage networking protocols iSCSI, Escon, Fibre Channel, and Infiniband."

my understanding of GFP was that it included mappings for these protocols already. if that's correct and if these chips are truly GFP-compliant, isn't this a mute point?
rickaty 12/4/2012 | 11:06:17 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet GFP encapsulates all forms of packets, but it has recently been extended to do circuit emulation as well. Right now the chip probably just does the packet form of GFP. They will be able to support Fiber Channel and Escon via this GFP circuit emulation functionality in the future.
poster 12/4/2012 | 11:06:16 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet Top 10 reasons why <name of="" optical="" startup="" systems=""> is a rotten startup.

1. Management brings in their friends and make them managers, even though
there is no need for managers. They just sit there and collect salary since day 1.
2. CEO is egotistical. Doesn't know how to run a company.
3. Operation VP did not choose the right vendor to synthesize the chip design.
Major delays. As a result, <name of="" partner="" strategic=""> broke off the business relation.
4. With the <name of="" partner="" strategic=""> fiasco, instead of laying off the persons
at fault, management laid off the innocent employees because they are not their
buddies.
5. <name common="" component="" of="" startup="" sub-system="" vc="" with=""> is a startup and only a startup will take the risk to work with
a rotten company like <name of="" optical="" startup="" systems="">.
6. CEO needs to take acting lesson. He pretended to cry while announcing the layoffs
and did a lousy job.
7. Management is not up front with workers. The company meetings are just full of
lies.
8. Marketing & Sales dept. are not functioning at all. Cannot sell.
9. Management tries to cash in big money even though they are not qualified to lead
a startup.
10. Company burn rate is ridiculously high. Try to cash in before selling it to a
sucker buyer or file for bankruptcy.</name></name></name></name></name>
poster 12/4/2012 | 11:06:15 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet Top 10 reasons why (name of optical systems startup) is a rotten startup.

1. Management brings in their friends and make them managers, even though
there is no need for managers. They just sit there and collect salary since day 1.
2. CEO is egotistical. Doesn't know how to run a company.
3. Operation VP did not choose the right vendor to synthesize the chip design.
Major delays. As a result, (name of stratefic partner) broke off the business relation.
4. With the (name of strategic partner) fiasco, instead of laying off the persons
at fault, management laid off the innocent employees because they are not their
buddies.
5. (name of component/sub-system startup with common VC) is a startup and only a startup will take the risk to work with
a rotten company like .
6. CEO needs to take acting lesson. He pretended to cry while announcing the layoffs
and did a lousy job.
7. Management is not up front with workers. The company meetings are just full of
lies.
8. Marketing & Sales dept. are not functioning at all. Cannot sell.
9. Management tries to cash in big money even though they are not qualified to lead
a startup.
10. Company burn rate is ridiculously high. Try to cash in before selling it to a
sucker buyer or file for bankruptcy.
erbiumfiber 12/4/2012 | 11:06:14 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet To add to the list:

11. There are twice as many managers/administrative employees than there are engineers, technicians, etc. (i.e., the people who are actually going to design and build the product to make all those "administrators" millionaires...)
ofer_fi 12/4/2012 | 11:06:08 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet What about the long delays and Trhoughput degradation when Fibre Channel, ESCOn or FICON are connected via SONET ? How can this be overcome ?
Huub_van_Helvoort 12/4/2012 | 11:04:27 PM
re: Agilent Boosts Ethernet-Over-Sonet The GFP standard ITU-T G.7042 defines the mapping
of several protocols. This means that one can support the mapping of a single protocol following this standard, hence being standard compliant.
--
Or do you expect a chip that is SONET compliant to support everything from T1 to OC-768?
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