Optical Networking Scenario
Synchronous Optical Networking (SONET) is the technology for optical networking communication used and originated in North America. Most of other parts of the world use Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) standard which was formulated earlier in Europe. SONET is on lines of the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) while SDH is on ETSI (European Telecommunications Standard Institute), the main differences being technical terms and standard transmission rates.
The equipments used for providing services based on this technology are generally used by telecom service providers as this enables long distance communication (communication involves transmission and reception). The equipments even act as add/drop multiplexers present in the middle of the path which combines numerous signals into a single one or amplifies the signal. Connected to each other by optical fibers which may be underground or even under the sea, these devices are usually called as nodes in the optical transport scenario.
The main players in the market in this field are Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper and Huawei. Each of these is gradually enhancing the current range of devices to support more and more features in the area of data transmission. This is where immediate profits lie! DWDM technology (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing) is what carries information between even larger distances than SONET/SDH by carrying the combined signals from various sources brought to it by numerous SONET transmissions. Advances in DWDM equipments too are happening at a rapid pace.
The devices/equipments are accessed by software that enables monitoring, provisioning and a lot of other features including security (OAM&P). For example, Cisco Systems has a GUI called the Cisco Transport Controller which is a highly advanced application providing all of and more than the above mentioned services. The amount of work that has gone in developing these is evident from the increasing enhanced versions from 1.0 in 2000 to 8.0 in 2007 (and even more by now!).
Long-distance wireless technologies are growing pretty fast, but optical networking technology is here to stay owing to the huge investments made on this. Present infrastructure on land and underwater can by no chance be ignored with the rise of any new technology.