Transmode transforms Layer 2 with muxponder

Transmode has extended Layer 2 functionality with a new, 12 port Ethernet Muxponder. The company claims that the unit is the first on the market that has a 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN port for direct connection to switches and routers, providing better Gigabit Ethernet aggregation and improved capacity usage at a low price.

The new unit aggregates 10x Gigabit Ethernet signals, with aggregation taking place in Layers 1 and 2. The Muxponder supports ten client ports running at Gigabit Ethernet speeds and aggregates them into a Layer 2 protected 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN signal using the two 10G ports.

As the uplink is 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN signal, it does not need to be demultiplexed in the optical domain, but can be plugged straight into a switch or a router.

Jon Baldry, technical marketing manager, Transmode, comments, "This addition to Layer 2 allows network operators to manage quality of service and bandwidth profiles. So, for instance, service providers can differentiate their offer by providing service guarantees of 300Mbps throughput, say, as well as a 500Mbps guaranteed burst speed over short periods at peak times instead of a dumb 1Gbps pipe - for which, of course, they can charge more too. This would be attractive to businesses and service providers offering unbundled local loop services alike.

He adds, "This approach is a simple, functional way to cost-optimise networks overall, without getting into the domain of Ethernet switching, which is very complex. It's not new technology so much as new thinking of how technology is being deployed and exploited.

"Layer  2 is becoming a major force in transport because it provides visibility of how capacity is being used. Where it is under-utilized, you use the switching fabric to maximize it. We are not advocating replacing switching, but providing better visibility and therefore management of assets. The industry is in the very early days of integrating Layer 2 into WDM networks."

Baldry concludes, "Two years ago, there were a lot of new business opportunities for SONET/SDH and Carrier Ethernet both. Now the general consensus is that Ethernet across WDM has won out."