Cable Tech

Cisco Sweetens Sonet Access

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has a new multiservice access product making the rounds, a pizza-box-shaped Sonet add/drop multiplexer that is designed to allow carriers to offer more data services off of their Sonet rings.

While the product's name, the ONS 15310, is known, the technical specifics are still closely under wraps at Cisco. Looking at its number and product family, though, sheds some light on where Cisco's going here.

The smallest thing in Cisco's Sonet access line is the ONS 15327, which measures three rack units (RUs) high (one RU is 1.75 inches), 19 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. What it needs is a piece of customer-located equipment -- a 1RU box that supports a mix of TDM and packet services over Sonet transport -- in order to complete the line. Such a box is the ONS 15310, our sources say, and it includes a mix of private-line and Ethernet ports (see Standardizing Ethernet Services).

Cisco has two pizza-box access platforms in the ONS 15300 family already -- the ONS 15305 and the ONS 15302 -- but both are SDH boxes aimed at markets outside North America (see Cisco Peps Up Its Sonet Muxes).

Table 1: Cisco's Sonet Arsenal
Vendor Access CLE MSPP MSTP MSSP Core STS1/VC4 Switch
Cisco ONS 15302/ONS 15305 (SDH), ONS 15327 (Sonet) ONS 15327, 15454 MSTP 15454 ONS 15600 ONS 15600, Metro-optimized
Source: Heavy Reading

Cisco won't discuss its unannounced products. But the company was eager to point out some key trends in the ONS 15300 product family, as well as the Sonet access space as a whole.

"Over time we will see more and more data functionality added to those [ONS 15300 Series] platforms," says Rajiv Ramaswami, VP and general manager of Cisco's optical networking group.

"On the [ONS 15]454, we not only have mapping-type services" -- i.e., Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme, or LCAS, used for mapping of Ethernet traffic to Sonet/SDH -- "but we also do what I would call Layer 2 Ethernet services by using statistical multiplexing… And you'll see the same thing happen on the edge as well.

"You're going to see the boxes remain fairly small but with a trend towards incorporating more data services with perhaps even some storage services.

"In the access market generally we are trying to do two things. Focus on cost reduction -- get cheaper and cheaper -- with more and more integration. Over time, you're going to see a lot more integration of data features."

Ramaswami won't comment on whether those new data features will show up as new products, new linecards, or both.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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