OC12 - Allowing CLEC To Deliver High Speed Services

OC12 Bandwidth and SONET

SONET has been one of the most impressive transport technologies in North America. It is not surprising that while newer technologies seem to be cropping up every day, SONET has remained the constant backbone technology throughout. Of course, the scalability of SONET is one of the primary reasons why it has been so successful. OC12 is one of the important links in this network.

The SONET Hierarchy is simple and extremely flexible. The fundamental unit in SONET is called the STS1 and is approximately 51.84 Mbps. While there are no standard transmission lines within SONET networks supporting STS1, this does remain the basic building block in the technology.

The most basic transmission link in SONET is called as the OC3 or the Optical Carrier 3. This is essentially has the capacity to transport 3 STS1 signals and hence the name. This conversion reflects another important feature of SONET networks, which is proportional scaling. Since OC3 has a capacity of 3 STS1, its bandwidth is three times that of STS1 or 155.52 Mbps. This is one of the primary reasons why SONET has been able to survive through several technological advancements.

The next level in the hierarchy is the OC12 or the Optical Carrier 12 link. Again, logically, the capacity of an Optical Carrier 12 link is twelve times that of STS1 or four times OC3. Thus the total Optical Carrier 12 link speed comes out to be 622.08 Mbps. Not so long ago, this was ample bandwidth to connect central offices and Optical Carrier 12 link formed the backbone for the first SONET networks.

However, today with increasing number of users: both residential and enterprise, and bandwidth hungry applications there is a stark increase in required transmission speeds. As a result, the core networks cannot run on just Optical Carrier 12 rates. They have moved to bigger pipes based on Optical Carrier 192 links and even started moving to Optical Carrier 786 links.

OC12, however, remains a favorite for the Competitive Local Exchange Carriers. These regional services providers can tap into the ILEC networks through the Optical Carrier 12 rings and deliver services to their customers. The transmission speeds of Optical Carrier 12 pipe are ideal for them to satisfy the localized bandwidth demands.

In conclusion, the Optical Carrier 12 is a very important part of the SONET hierarchy. It acts as an ideal steeping stone between the low bandwidth requirements at customer end the very high transmission speeds at the core. Thanks to this link, many smaller service providers are able to cater to the needs to regional customers better.


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