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RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push

Israel's RAD Data Communications Ltd. has long sold a box that emulates leased lines over Ethernet connections. Now it's found a way of making it sound sort of sexy.

It's repositioning the box, called the IPmux, as part of a bunch of products that enable carriers to take advantage of Ethernet technology in access networks. Handling everything as Ethernet packets enables carriers to offer multiple services -- notably leased lines, voice connections, and IP services -- over a single access line at low cost, the company says.

The sort-of-sexy aspect of this is that carriers can deploy this kit irrespective of their progress in deploying Ethernet in their core metro networks. RAD's solution works in both environments, enabling carriers to migrate to a packet infrastucture in the heart of their networks at their own pace.

In order to make this happen, the IPmux becomes a multiservice network termination unit (NTU) that sits at customer sites, connected to TDM (time division multiplex) gear, such as a PBX, and IP equipment, such as routers. The NTU shunts all of the traffic from this equipment into Ethernet frames for transport over the access line, making sure that it keeps track of the packets containing TDM traffic, which need to be resynchronized at the other end.

At the other end, at the carrier's point of presence, a planned access aggregator device can be configured to work in various ways. The traffic can be reconstituted into TDM circuits and IP packets and fed into separate connections in existing SDH (not Sonet) infrastructure. Alternatively, the aggregator can be fitted with a different blade to carry the TDM and IP traffic over different virtual circuits in the carrier's ATM infrastructure. On the other hand, if the carrier has already deployed metro Ethernet technology, the traffic can be left in its Ethernet format.

The access aggregator is scheduled for shipment in the first quarter of 2004.

RAD isn't alone in coming up with this idea, although the nearest thing to it appears to be a collaboration between two vendors -- Axerra Networks Inc., which makes an access concentrator, and Engage Communications, which sells a box similar to RAD's NTU direct to enterprises. Axerra and Engage recently announced successful interoperability tests (see Axerra and Engage Test IP Kit) and are now working together on some projects, according to Mark Doyle, Engage's VP of marketing.

In some respects, this puts Axerra/Engage ahead of RAD in that their products are already shipping. However, Axerra's box is designed for use in metro Ethernet networks, not legacy Sonet metro networks, according to spokeswoman Lara Sedar, so it can't match RAD's migration story.

The fact that RAD is developing the boxes at both ends of the access line also enables it to add all sorts of extras that rely on sharing intelligence about what's happening on the network. This enables RAD to offer traffic management functions such as shaping and quality-of-service assurance, as well as automated provisioning and reconfiguration. It also includes VLAN stacking and OAM (operations, administration, and maintenance) functions.

And that's just for starters. RAD says its approach could be used to extend MPLS to the access aggregator or even into the customer site to support such things as Layer 2 LAN-interconnect services.

Right now, however, a lot of this is PowerPoint technology. The sexiest thing the company can do right now is to turn some of its ideas into real working products.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

giladn 12/4/2012 | 11:54:58 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push what you failed to notice is that RAD is actually competing against itself, as Axerra's original name was IpRad, which tells you it's part of the RAD group.
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 11:54:47 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push RAD has very good access equipment. Ethernet in the Fist Mile will play a very vital role in the near future. RAD is very well positioned to meet this challenge.
Peter Heywood 12/4/2012 | 11:54:46 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push Yes, I missed that, and Axerra is listed as a member of the RAD Group on RAD's website:

http://www.rad.com/Home/0,6583...

It's strange because RAD isn't listed as an investor on Axerra's website:

http://www.axerra.com/investor...

Tell me more!


feke 12/4/2012 | 11:54:42 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push They are not alone!

There are a few more players in this field as well.
One is Ericsson, another one is OKI, and also a small company that I can not remember the name of but that I've seen rumours about beeibg bought by Cisco not to long ago.

They are all doing quite similar things CESoIP/ATM and I know RAD and Axerra are involved in the PWE3 working-group within IETF.

There are little competition on this market now but there are still some hurdles on the way to ensure the operators to use this kind of technology in large scale...

//Feke
giladn 12/4/2012 | 11:54:18 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push The RAD group is the brainchild of Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel, one (entity, as they work together) of Israel's tech-gurus. they work by "incubating" a company in-house, then getting outside investments. they invest in all of their companies, so Axerra should be no different, but they do not always discolose that.

Radvision, Radware, Silicom and more - are public companies of the RAD group. all in all, there are 16 companies.

the most recent "exit" was the sale of Radlan to Marvell, which should bring the Zisapels some 10-30 mil$ out of the total 50-100 mil (considering milestones payments) of the whole deal's worth. over the years the Zisapels gave the company at least 15$ mil, out of the total 60.5$ mil it raised.
kevin mcintyre 12/4/2012 | 11:54:17 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push Rad does/did invest in Axerra. However, they are definitely in competition. Both having opposing methods for doing circuit emulation over IP/MPLS networks in PWE3.

Kevin McIntyre
Zarlink Semiconductor.
starman 12/4/2012 | 11:53:34 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push feke

are u referring to Overture
incidentally on the approaches of the different vendors
1.SONET VT (Overture Networks)
Put TDM into SONET Virtual Tributaries then use SONET encapsulation, requires SONET infrastructure and/or ADMs
This approach is being folded into the SONET over MPLS draft
2.CESoPSN (Axerra)
Very simple raw bit encapsulation, can even be implemented in SW if performance is not an issue
3.TDMoIP (RAD)
Put TDM into AAL1 or AAL2, then carry that over MPLS, can implement using standard AAL1/2 SARs
The PWE3 WG still cannot reach consensus on a way to compromise between the latter two approaches

I am not convinced TDM emulation can be a viable solution when maximum revenue generating traffic is TDM /Voice based

Is there any info available on the trials /deployments of these solutions ?
iseidner 12/4/2012 | 11:53:33 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push Regarding TDMoIP viability, there is a good web site www.tdmoip.com that lists a number of case studies as well as applications suitable for TDM emulation.
iseidner 12/4/2012 | 11:53:33 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push Regarding TDMoIP viability, there is a good web site www.tdmoip.com that lists a number of case studies as well as applications suitable for TDM emulation.
++++++ 12/4/2012 | 11:53:27 PM
re: RAD Plans Ethernet Access Push
There are several solutions for carrying TDM traffice over Ethernet that I have seen.
(1) TDMoIP chips - being worked on at IETF in PWE3 Group, from companies like Zarlink (www.zarlink.com)
(2) TDM over Ethernet chips - from companies like Teknovus (www.teknovus.com)
(3) Ethernet over SONET chips - use SONET to carry mixed traffic, from many companies
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