The gradual approach to demarcation expansion

How can networks handle significantly more workloads and data-hungry applications without major investment? Here's why flexibility is the key to getting the most from existing infrastructure.
Arthur Cole
FSP 150-XJ128

The need for bigger, better, faster networking is a constant in the digital economy. No matter how much you have, there’s always a rationale for acquiring more.

But the challenge for network providers is not merely to scale up, but to scale up in a controlled, economically feasible manner that provides users with the bandwidth and throughput they need without over-provisioning a mass of dead capacity. The problem most organizations run into, however, is that incremental increases in network resources are often complicated and can lead to impaired performance down the road, while major forklift upgrades require a substantial capital commitment up front.

Physical footprint

Network virtualization and the SD-WAN have gone a long way toward accurately provisioning resources to meet available workloads, but on the physical layer the problem remains: a lack of good options when it comes to scaling up gradually and in a controlled, predictable manner.

Perhaps nowhere is this problem more acute than the demarcation point. On one side, of course, as the carrier network, which is optimized for large bandwidth operations on the order of 100Gbit/s or more. On the other is the client enterprise, or even the consumer, which considers 10Gbit/s to be on the cutting edge.

This has left organizations in a bind because there is quite a lot of digital real estate between 10Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s, and now that the network edge is becoming populated with numerous processing and storage modules for the internet of things and the connected economy, the need for broader diversity in demarcation solutions is likely to increase.

On solution, of course, is to use multiple 10Gbits/s devices as network needs arise. This can become quite expensive per bit, however, and can require the use of complex modulation techniques – not to mention physical space requirements to accommodate the extra modules.

To function properly on the IoT edge, you’ll need a rugged design that can withstand a wide temperature range and other harsh conditions.
More to the point

A better solution would be to up the bandwidth of the demarcation solution itself, which ADVA has done with the new 25Gbit/s FSP 150-XJ128. Not only does the device fit in the same slot as 10Gbit/s solutions, which gives users the ability to scale up their network capabilities without a major upgrade, it also providers lower cost per bit, reducing the cost of ongoing network operations.

Bandwidth alone does not enable a smooth upgrade path, however. In order to function properly on the IoT edge, you’ll need a rugged design that can withstand a wide temperature range and other harsh conditions. As well, modern Ethernet services require advanced operations, administration, maintenance (OAM) capabilities, such as connectivity fault management (CFM) and performance management (PM) that help ensure rapid detection and resolution of performance-impeding complications.

As well, demarcation needs the support of a sophisticated operational framework that can implement the increasingly stringent timing and synchronization requirements demanded of modern data loads. The FSP 150-KJ128 is backed by the Ensemble Controller and Ensemble Packet Director for full, intuitive, end-to-end network control.

Ultimately, of course, most organizations will reach a point where 100Gbit/s is necessary, requiring the deployment of solutions like ADVA’s MEF 3.0-certified FSP 150-XG400 series. Until then, it makes the most sense to leverage existing infrastructure to the greatest extent possible.

A 25Gbit/s solution that integrates easily into existing 10Gbit/s infrastructure not only minimizes the cost of the upgrade, in the case of the FSP 150-XJ128, also reduces the cost of networking going forward.

As most operators have already learned, speed is wonderful, but flexibility is what makes or breaks network architecture.

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