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Technology Showcase: Fiber Routers and Matrix Switchers

Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, Bennett Liles

Fiber takes signal switching further.

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Harris Platinum Opto+

Harris Platinum Opto+

The new Grass Valley Optical Switch Router (OSR) is the newest member of the Acappella family of small routers. The OSR can be configured either symmetrically or asymmetrically, with port counts in multiples of four from 8×8 to 32×32. Physically, the OSR is packaged in a 19in. frame — either 1RU (up to 16×16) or 3RU (port counts greater than 16×16) — and 14.7in. deep. Two connector types can be provisioned, either LC or FC/APC with redundant AC powering. The OSR's photonic switch core is both format/protocol- and data-rate-independent. Any signal that can be transmitted over a fiber can be switched — RF, SD/HD, Ethernet, serial in either single-mode or multimode (including CWDM), and bidirectional traffic. Performance is enhanced because there is no signal conversion from electrical to optical. The OSR can be operated as a standalone or a network element within the Encore platform via Ethernet or serial communication. The OSR's impressive specs include less than 1dB of optical attenuation, greater than -70dB crosstalk, and a 10-millisecond switching time.

For direct fiber I/O connectivity, Harris offers the Platinum Opto+ modules, the PT-OXS-IB+ and the PT-OXS-OB+, for its large and medium-sized Platinum routers. This teams the processing power of the Platinum line with the capability to handle longer HD-SDI signal transmission with a 3Gbps (1080p) infrastructure. The Platinum Opto+ modules use standard small-form-factor (SFP) connectors, and they support FP or DFB lasers in the transmitters (PT-XOS-OB+) and PIN or APD receivers (PT-OXB-IB+) for pricing to suit the transmission distances required. The Opto-equipped Harris Platinum routers may use either single- or multimode fiber. The Platinum MX can scale up to a 128×128 switching matrix in a 9RU frame for HD-SDI, SDI, ASI, and analog video with AES and analog audio. The modules are front-loading and hot-swappable, scalable in groups of eight inputs or eight outputs with redundant controllers and cross-points, along with load-sharing power supplies. In a 5RU frame, the unit can scale up to 72×64 and up to 144×128 discrete audio channels. Automatic format conversion allows a complete variety of any input signal type to any output format. Hardware and software provide a number of control solutions.

In sizes from 1RU to 9RU, the MultiDyne EOS-4000 fiber-optic switcher is scalable in matrix sizes from 32×32 up to 288×288 for video signals up to 4.25Gbps. With SFP transceivers on all ports, the unit has hot-swappable port cards, power supplies, and fans. Accepting up to three modular port cards, each with up to 48 SFP transceiver modules, the EOS-4000 groups the physical ports on each card as input/output pairs for 850nm, 1300nm, and 1550nm optical media. Also swappable is the CompactFlash card that acts as the CPU hard drive for storing the controlling software and non-volatile configuration data. Configuration commands are received on a 10/100 Ethernet connection, and they enable the unit to emulate optical power break with and without path failures; make topology changes; and reroute point-to-point, loop, or multicast connections. Also available is dynamic device testing to simulate faults and identify improperly operating devices. The EOSXplorer software interface provides graphical displays with the EOS physical view, logical view, chassis health monitor, and port card health monitor. The user can simply click on any port and drag it to any other available port — or, in logical view, the user can employ a drag-and-drop technique in a Windows Explorer-style display. The health-monitoring displays use gauges and graphs.

Opticomm OptiLinx OLX-3000

Opticomm OptiLinx OLX-3000

The OptiLinx OLX-3000 from Opticomm can switch digital video up to 4.25Gbps on any of its 144 ports (4RU model) or 288 ports (8RU model). Available link rates include 1.0625Gbps, 1.25Gbps, 2.125Gbps, 2.5Gbps, and 4.25Gbps. Full-duplex switching capacity extends up to 612Gbps. The chassis accepts a variety of modular port cards with SFP transceiver modules for specific network configurations. These can include point-to-point, multiple loops, and multicast topologies simultaneously. Each of the transceivers presents a physical connection for an optical input-and-output pair. The port cards are hot-swappable, as are the fans and power supplies. Any wavelength — standard 850nm, 1310nm, 1550nm, multimode or single mode, or CWDM and DWDM — is supported with complete optical transparency in links up to half a mile. Remote monitoring and control is facilitated with a drag-and-drop graphical interface using Opticomm LinxView software. Configuration and out-of-band control options include the ability to quickly isolate interconnect problems, evaluate the reliability of network data transfer, test hardware configurations, and simulate faults. All of these operations are done through 10/100 Ethernet and RS-232 ports using simple, intuitive command sets to establish links, change topologies, and emulate optical power breaks with and without path failures.

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