Patent Issued for Apparatus and Method for Transmitting LAN Signals over a Transport System
2012 AUG 1 (VerticalNews) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Telecommunications Weekly -- A patent by the inventors Cox, Jeffrey Lloyd (Fairview, TX); Sheth, Samir Satish (Plano, TX), filed on February 25, 2005, was cleared and issued on July 24, 2012, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.
Patent number 8223795 is assigned to Pivotal Decisions LLC (Las Vegas, NV).
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Data networks that cover large geographical distances have historically been fundamentally different from those that cover short distances. This fact primarily was derived from the different evolutionary paths that were followed by the Enterprise networks (ones that reside inside of a business, home, educational institution, or government agency) and the Carrier networks (ones that are provided by a common carrier). Over the past few decades the Enterprise networks and Carrier networks mostly evolved independently, each addressing a different problem and each following a different set of standards. The Enterprise networks mostly evolved to support data from computing environments via LAN infrastructures and data protocols. After decades of competition between different LAN standards and networking protocols during the 1980s and 1990s, the LANs are now predominantly built on Ethernet and Internet Protocol (IP) technologies. Ethernet is defined by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and specifically is defined by the IEEE 802.3 standard. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) defines IP.
"The Carrier networks mostly evolved to support voice services from home and business customers via various circuit-switched Time Domain Multiplexing (TDM) technologies. The Carrier networks are now predominantly comprised of various TDM technologies built on the Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) standard or its European counterpart Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH). The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) defines SONET and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) defines the SDH standard.
"Historically, the Ethernet LAN technologies provided very cost-effective high-speed 'local' connections among computers, but sacrificed the ability to span distances longer than approximately 10 km. Typical Ethernet LANs spanned relatively small areas like a building or a campus. Such a transport system may be called an inter-office transport system. More recently, Ethernet has been used directly over optical fiber in Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) to deliver Ethernet services natively to areas on the order of 100 km in diameter. The method on how to utilize Ethernet natively on optical fiber for distances shorter than approximately 100 km is specified by the IEEE 802.3 standard.
"As the need arose for the Enterprise LAN networks to interconnect their geographically separate facilities, the only available services at the Enterprise's disposal were from the public Carriers' networks. However, the asynchronous, connectionless, packet-oriented nature of the LAN technology was mostly incompatible with the synchronous, connection-based, bit-oriented nature of the Carriers' TDM facilities. To join the two technological worlds together, various data technologies were invented. In the realm where speeds are comparable to that of LANs (i.e. 10 Megabits/second or greater) Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Frame Relay (FR), and Packet over SONET (POS) became the most popular data technologies that Carriers utilized. ATM, FR, and POS are generally considered Wide Area Networking (WAN) technologies and are built on top of the SONET-based TDM infrastructure currently deployed by the carriers. In general, ATM, FR, and POS sacrificed the simplicity, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of LAN technologies in order to be compatible with the existing carrier TDM infrastructure, which was primarily designed for voice traffic. At the time ATM, FR, and POS were being developed in the late 1980s, it made sense to make these sacrifices because the volume of data traffic over the TDM infrastructure was insignificant when compared to the volume of voice traffic. However, since the later part of the 1990's, data traffic has grown exponentially so that now it comprises the majority of the traffic on the Carrier's TDM infrastructure.
"Since Carriers adopted ATM, FR, and POS as the WAN technologies, Enterprise networks were forced to utilize these inefficient and expensive technologies to interconnect their LANs between their various locations. Typically the interconnections were accomplished via routers with ATM, FR, and POS interfaces and ATM switches, see FIG. 1. The introductions of these WAN technologies to the Enterprise's LAN infrastructures lead to significant new technological learning curves and significant capital and operational expenses. Many Enterprises created entirely separate departments to deal with the Carriers and their WAN technologies.
"As the Ethernet LAN technologies evolved, data rates grew from 10 Mbits/sec to 100 Mbits/sec, 1 Gbit/sec, and now 10 Gbit/sec Ethernet (10GE). Each successive generation of Ethernet remained compatible with the previous, thus allowing for interoperability as the network grew. Enterprises quickly adopted each new generation of Ethernet technology to support the exploding traffic volumes on their LANs. With the introduction of 10GE standard, Enterprise networks will once again scale to the next level. The high throughput rate of 10GE makes the technology extremely attractive for use on corporate backbone networks. Because the original packet format and minimum/maximum packet size were retained between the various versions of Ethernet, all forms of Ethernet interoperate seamlessly. Consequently it is possible, for example, to collect traffic from one hundred 100 Base-T Ethernets, each running at full speed, and pass this traffic along a single 10GE network.
"However, the Carrier WAN technologies have lagged behind the LAN Ethernet implementations in terms of capacity, price/performance, and ease of use. Enterprises have voiced their desire to implement Ethernet connections across WANs as a mechanism to supplant the traditional WAN technologies (ATM, FR, and POS) offered by Carriers. There are several potential mechanisms available to transport the various Ethernet technologies across WAN infrastructures. In general, these mechanisms can be broken into two categories: encapsulation and native. In the case of encapsulation, an Ethernet frame is removed from its native media format and encapsulated inside of the payload area of another protocol. There are numerous examples of the encapsulation approach including: Ethernet over FR, Ethernet over POS, Ethernet over SONET (x86, 10GE WAN, and others), and Ethernet over ATM (LANE). All of these encapsulation techniques were invented in order to allow Ethernet to be run over existing Carrier WAN technologies that, in turn, were transported on top of traditional Carrier TDM technologies, thus creating additional unnecessary layers of cost and complexity. The native Ethernet formats are defined by the IEEE 802.3 committee standards for each of the Ethernet variations. The physical layer (PHY) of the IEEE Ethernet standards defines how Ethernet is transmitted over a given media. For each of the Ethernet speeds (10 Mb, 100 Mb, 1 Gb, and 10 Gb) the IEEE defines at least one native PHY format that transports Ethernet directly on optical fiber facilities and at least one PHY format that transports Ethernet directly on copper facilities (coax or twisted pair media). In addition to various copper-based PHYs, each of the Ethernet speeds support multiple PHYs for optical fiber in order to support different reaches, different price points, and different optical fiber types. However, the IEEE-defined PHYs do not support: 1. Reaches beyond about 100 km 2. Optical media other than optical fiber 3. Media other than optical fiber or copper 4. Multiplexing multiple Ethernet signals over a given optical media.
"The 100 km limit on optical fiber is the approximate point at which an optical signal will degrade beyond the point of recovery without some form of signal regeneration. The IEEE 802.3 committee's charter ended at this point as they saw that distances beyond 100 km were in the realm of WAN technologies and they were a committee chartered to focus on LAN issues.
"When developing the 10GE standard, the IEEE 802.3ae committee developed two different 10GE frame formats. These frame formats are generally known as the 'LAN' standard and the 'WAN' standard, though these are somewhat misnamed terms. The 10GE 'LAN' standard utilizes a native frame format identical to all previous IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards. But, in order to allow compatibility with the existing SONET framing structure and data rate, the IEEE 802.3ae committee defined the 10GE 'WAN' standard. The IEEE 802.3ae WAN standard encapsulates native Ethernet frames inside of an OC-192 SONET Payload Envelope (SPE) and adjusts the clock rate of the 10GE signal such that it is compatible with that of OC-192. Both the 10GE WAN and 10GE LAN standards support the same set of optical fiber PHYs and thus both have the same distance limitations on a single span of optical fiber without resorting to additional equipment. The 'LAN' and 'WAN' designations simply refer to their differences in framing format and data rates.
"To transport native Ethernet signals further than the nominal 100 km limit on optical fiber, and/or to support multiple optical Ethernet signals natively on a given optical fiber, other technologies must be introduced to multiplex, amplify, and condition the optical signal. The technologies that allow optical signals to cost-effectively travel beyond 100 km and/or be multiplexed on optical fiber are well known and have been applied to the SONET industry for well over a decade. These technologies include: optical amplification (via Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers (EDFA) or Raman amplifiers), dispersion compensation, optical multiplexing via Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing (CWDM, less than 17 channels) or Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM, greater than or equal to 17 channels), gain equalization, Forward Error Correction (FEC), and various modulation techniques. Combined, these technologies are generally referred to as Metro (less than 100 km in length), Long Haul (LH, between 100 and 1000 km), and Ultra Long Haul (ULH, greater than 1000 km) transport systems. Recent ULH systems allow more than 100 ten-gigabit signals to be transmitted 1000's of kilometers over an optical fiber without the need to be converted to an electronic signal.
"Transport systems are that class of systems that allow a signal (or signals) to be transmitted and received via a media while including functionality beyond that of the original signal. An optical transport system may include optical fiber or free space optics. A fiber transport system can include fiber optics, copper wire, or any thread like substance, such as carbon fiber, capably of carrying a signal. Transport systems include support for functionality such as (but not limited to): 1. Media: optical fiber, Free Space Optics (FSO), Radio Frequency (RF), and electrical-based solutions (twisted copper pairs, coaxial cable) 2. Topological organizations: linear, rings, stars, and meshes 3. Switching capabilities: protection, restoration, and cross-connections 4. Multiplexing capabilities: single channel, CWDM, and DWDM 5. Directional capabilities: unidirectional or bi-directional 6. Distance capabilities: Metro, LH, ULH, submarine, and satellite systems 7. Transport system network elements: Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers (OADM), Optical Wavelength Cross-connects (OXC), and Regenerators (Regen) 8. Management and Control systems: signaling protocols, performance monitoring, and configuration and control interfaces
"These functionalities may be used independently or in various combinations to create a wide variety of transport system implementations to solve specific transport system problems.
"In the prior art, to adapt a standard IEEE 802.3 10GE client signal to a format that is suitable for a specific transport system, a device called a transceiver is employed. A transceiver converts the 10GE signal from a client system (the tributary signal) to a signal that is defined by the particular transport system (the line signal). Prior art transceivers such as those offered by Nortel, Lucent, Hitachi and others are available to convert 850, 1310 and 1550 nm optical tributary signals compatible with the 10GE WAN standard to the signals suitable for their respective Metro/LH/ULH systems. However, a need exists in the industry for a transceiver that is capable of receiving tributary signals of the 10GE LAN standard. In other words, a need exists for a high-speed transport system that is compatible with the 10GE LAN standard and does not require conversion to the IEEE 10GE WAN standard, or any other SONET-based standard, for use in creating networks.
"Prior art systems suffer from the ability of using the 10GE LAN standard for a high-speed transport system. For example, United States Patent No. 2001/0014104, to Bottorff, et al., entitled '10 Gigabit Ethernet Mappings For A Common Lan/Wan Pmd Interface With A Simple Universal Physical Medium Dependent Interface', discloses an Ethernet mapping that enables high speed Ethernet data streams having a data rate of 10 Gb/s to be transported across a synchronous packet switched network having a standard SONET OC-192 line rate. The Bottorff invention, as with many of the other prior art inventions, requires conversion to a SONET-based standard.
"U.S. Pat. No. 6,075,634 to Casper, et al., entitled 'Gigabit Data Rate Extended Range Fiber Optic Communication System And Transponder Therefor', discloses a method and system for a fiber optic digital communication system and associated transponder architecture. The system interfaces Gigabit Ethernet digital data over an extended range fiber optic link, using digital data signal regeneration and optical signal processing components that pre- and post-compensate for distortion and timing jitter. Casper does not disclose a transceiver that is capable of receiving tributary signals of the 10GE LAN standard.
"U.S. Pat. No. 6,288,813 to Kirkpatrick, et al., entitled 'Apparatus And Method For Effecting Data Transfer Between Data Systems', discloses a receiver that converts an optical signal to digital data signals. The digital data signals are then converted to balanced bipolar signals and are then outputted onto buses for input into data systems. Kirkpatrick does not disclose an architecture for transporting 10GE LAN signals."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention is an improvement over the prior art because the invention provides a system and method for transmitting LAN signals over transport systems through a novel transceiver. The LAN tributary signals are generated by any LAN compliant client device or system. The transceiver receives the tributary LAN signal in its native format. The transceiver then converts the LAN signal to an internal electrical LAN signal and utilizes this signal to drive a second transport system signal (the line-side or line signal). The line-side LAN signal is then transmitted through the remainder of the transport system as a standard LAN signal with or without FEC.
"The invention further provides for performance monitoring (PM) of the received tributary and line-side optical signals, termination of the tributary and line signals (both transmit and receive), conversion of the tributary and line signals to and from internal electrical signals, electrically multiplexing and de-multiplexing signals, adding and removing FEC, clock and data recovery (CDR) of received signals, and in the case of optical line-side signals, control of laser wavelength locking and modulation of line optics.
"An exemplary use of the invention consists of the interconnection of two 10GE LAN client systems such as that known in the art. One example would be the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Ethernet switch with a 10GE LAN interface (the client interface). The Catalyst 10GE LAN interface is connected to an embodiment of the invention comprising of a 10GE LAN transceiver, which is in turn connected to a transport system. The transport system carries the 10GE LAN signal to the other end of the transport system where a second 10GE LAN transceiver coverts the signal to a second client signal that is attached to a second Catalyst 10GE LAN interface. Within each transceiver, the 10GE client signal is converted to and from an internal electrical signal via the PMD. The internal 10GE signal is performance monitored by a 10GE LAN Media Access Control (MAC) circuit. The internal 10GE signal is connected through a bus to and from a Forward Error Correction (FEC) circuit and subsequently to an electrical multiplexer (MUX) and from an electrical de-multiplexer (DMUX) where CDR is performed. The data from the electrical MUX is then communicated to a line optics module (LOM) in the transmitting direction of the line-side. The transmitting direction of the LOM consists of one or more drivers (electrical amplifiers) that modulate (either directly or via an external modulator) a laser contained in the LOM. The resulting modulated laser light is then placed onto the transport system. The receiving direction of the LOM consists of a detector and an electrical amplifier to boost the detected signal in the case where the detector's own electrical signal is insufficient to drive the remaining circuitry. Data from the electrical detector is then communicated to DMUX where CDR is performed and the signal is subsequently passed to the FEC circuit. The PMD, 10GE MAC, FEC circuit, MUX, DMUX, and LOM are all controlled from a central micro controller through a control bus.
"All of the above advantages make a high-speed transport system that is compatible with the 10GE LAN standard and does not require conversion to the IEEE 10GE WAN standard, or any other SONET-based standard, for use in creating networks. This results in an increase of capacity, a better price/performance ratio, and a system that is easier to use and operate."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Cox, Jeffrey Lloyd; Sheth, Samir Satish. Apparatus and Method for Transmitting LAN Signals over a Transport System. U.S. Patent Number 8223795, filed February 25, 2005, and issued July 24, 2012. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=42&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=2064&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20120717.PD.&OS=ISD/20120717&RS=ISD/20120717
Keywords for this news article include: Ethernet, Internet, Electronics, Engineering, Frame Relay, Area Network, Data Network, Backbone Network, Circuits Research, Signal Processing, Telecommunications, Fiber Optic Network, Networking Protocol, Packet-based Network, Pivotal Decisions LLC, Information Technology, Information and Data Systems.
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