Suppliers split over harmonising standards

At the Lightspeed Europe 2001 network expo, there was a noticeable difference of opinion among exhibitors over whether standards...

At the Lightspeed Europe 2001 network expo, there was a noticeable difference of opinion among exhibitors over whether standards should be harmonised between the core and the edge of the wide area network, writes Antony Adshead.

In the end-to-end Ethernet versus multiprotocol environment, Nortel Networks is pushing a vision of Ethernet and IP everywhere. "Optical Ethernet is a key trend," said Mark Lum of Nortel portfolio solutions. "It is taking the logical next step into the Man [metropolitan area network] and the campus.

"The use of IP from end to end removes the need for protocol conversion, making it a simpler type of network, which means lower carrier costs can be passed on to the enterprise. But, being a simpler type of network, the enterprise can even build it itself."

However, many suppliers are focusing their efforts on allowing carriers to overcome multiprotocol environments to offer the enterprise a variety of services.

Siemens, Ericsson and Native each used the show to push their own multiplexors, aimed at incumbent network carriers that wish to carry services such as voice, data and video over networks based on existing core network standards - despite the ubiquity of Ethernet at the edge.

Siemens showcased its Multi Service Node, which allows carriers to continue to use their SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) core networks to transport voice and data traffic. "Quality of service is not fully resolved on IP, whereas [existing voice protocol] SDH can guarantee it 100%," said Siemens' product manager Patrick Kobel.

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