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Regular Articles

Advanced Technologies for Wide-area Ethernet Networks

Tomonori Shibuya, Takahiro Madokoro,
Yuki Takagi, and Yoshiaki Sone

Abstract

This article introduces a partial-bandwidth-guaranteed service system and a service-area expansion system that we have developed in order to improve the performance of wide-area Ethernet networks. The developed systems will enable new added services and provide a scheme for cost-efficient network expansion.

Keywords: wide-area Ethernet service, partial-bandwidth-guaranteed service system, service-area expansion system

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1. Wide-area Ethernet

Wide-area Ethernet services have been commercially available since 2008 and have been providing high-speed circuit services at a reasonable cost compared to conventional leased-line services. NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories is doing continuous research and development (R&D) in areas such as L2 (Layer 2) networking technology and operating technology, with the aim of further advancing wide-area Ethernet networks [1].

Two requirements must be met in order to improve the existing NGN (Next Generation Network) Ethernet networks.

- Offering various services that supplement datacenter/cloud needs

- Sharply reducing network capital expenditure

This article introduces a partial-bandwidth-guaranteed service system and a service-area expansion system that address these requirements by improving the access systems of wide-area Ethernet networks (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1. Advanced technologies for wide-area Ethernet networks.

2. Partial-bandwidth-guaranteed service system

We have developed a partial-bandwidth-guaranteed service system that satisfies various customer needs (Fig. 2). Conventionally, wide-area Ethernet networks offer only bandwidth-guaranteed services. Therefore, there is unutilized bandwidth when the total contracted bandwidth is less than the physical bandwidth capacity of the network, or when the actual working bandwidth for forwarding user traffic is less than the contracted bandwidth. To efficiently utilize this unutilized bandwidth, we have developed a new system that achieves the transfer of user traffic as bandwidth-guaranteed traffic, as long as the user traffic does not exceed the predetermined guaranteed bandwidth. In addition, it can transfer the user traffic flexibly with the unutilized bandwidth even if user traffic exceeds the predetermined guaranteed-bandwidth limit. The system has the following three key functions.


Fig. 2. Partial-bandwidth-guaranteed service system.

(1) Bandwidth monitoring function

This function supervises the flow of user traffic for every frame in order to determine whether to transmit traffic as guaranteed traffic or best-effort traffic. An optical subscriber unit (OSU) transfers the user frames that arrive under the designated committed information rate (CIR). User frames that exceed the CIR but not the peak information rate (PIR) are transferred by the OSU as best-effort traffic. If user frames exceed the PIR, the OSU discards them.

(2) VLAN tag coloring function

This function adds colored virtual local area network (VLAN) tags to user frames so that L2 switches can determine whether to use guaranteed class or best-effort class. The L2 switches refer to a class-identifier in the tag to execute the frame quality of service (QoS) control according to the congestion state.

(3) QoS information identification function

In the developed system, an access system determines the QoS class of the frame by checking the various designated priority fields in the user frames, which are arbitrarily set up by the user’s local policy, so that core switches can conduct QoS control according to the core network policy. Specifically, the OSU in the access system determines the color of VLAN tags according to the value of designated fields such as ToS (type of service)/TC (traffic class) for IP (Internet protocol) headers and CoS (class of service)/VID (VLAN identifier) for VLAN tags [2].

A wide-area Ethernet network that applies these functions can transfer even bursty traffic flexibly and efficiently according to the available bandwidth capacity in the network while keeping the conventional guaranteed transfer function.

3. Service-area expansion system

To provide wide-area Ethernet service, it is necessary to establish an access network using several kinds of network equipment, for example, a media converter (MC), L2 multiplexing switches, and long-distance transmission systems. Conventionally, these multiple types of equipment have been applied to all service areas. However, in low-demand areas, the equipment cost per user becomes larger than in other areas (Fig. 3(a)). We have been working to reduce this cost and have developed a new multiplexing module for MCs that has a route redundancy capability and long-distance transmission capability. This module features a conventional multiplexing switching function that is integrated with a long-distance transmission function. This module adds VLAN tags to received user frames and multiplexes multiple access lines into one of the redundant trunk lines. This module employs the following two key technologies.

(1) Route redundancy technology

The system’s reliability is enhanced through the use of a novel route redundancy technology we have developed that combines LAG (link aggregation group) and Ethernet OAM (operation, administration, and maintenance) [3] ((1) in Fig. 3(b)). The active route is switched if the system detects a link down alarm in the physical layer or a frame loss in the data-link layer.


Fig. 3. Service-area expansion system.

(2) Long-distance transmission technology

This system makes use of a long-distance transmission module (ZX-SFP (small form-factor pluggable)) that has 40-km transmission capability over single-mode optical fiber ((2) in Fig. 3(b)). In addition, the system supports 1000BASE-SX (up to 550 m) and 1000BASE-LX (up to 5 km), which are standardized in IEEE 802.3, so that the operator can select the optimum SFP module depending on the distance between the L2 switch and the OLT.

4. Summary

We have developed a partial-bandwidth-guaranteed service system and a service-area expansion system that promise to improve wide-area Ethernet services. These systems enable new added services and provide a scheme for cost-efficient network expansion. We believe these systems will open a path to further expanding the use of wide-area Ethernet services.

References

[1] S. Narikawa, M. Maruyoshi, and K. Okura, “Carrier Ethernet Technologies for the NGN Era,” NTT Technical Review, Vol. 7, No. 11, 2009.
https://www.ntt-review.jp/archive/ntttechnical.php?contents=ntr200911sf6.html
[2] IEEE 802.1ac.
http://www.ieee802.org/1/pages/802.1ac.html
[3] “Special Feature: NGN Communication Styles and Support Technologies,” NTT Technical Review, Vol. 5, No. 6, 2007.
https://www.ntt-review.jp/archive/2007/200706.html
Tomonori Shibuya
Senior Research Engineer, First Promotion Project, NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories.
He received the B.E. and M.E. degrees in electronics and communication engineering from Meiji University, Tokyo, in 1998 and 2000, respectively, the MBA degree from Tokyo Metropolitan University in 2009, the M.Env. Sci. degree from Tohoku University, Miyagi, in 2011, and the M.A. degree from Kochi University of Technology in 2014. He joined NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories in 2000. He worked at NTT EAST R&D Center during 2004–2008. Since 2008, he has been engaged in R&D of next-generation Ethernet technology.
Takahiro Madokoro
Engineer, First Promotion Project, NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories.
He received the B.E. and M.E. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Nagoya University, Aichi, in 2005 and 2007, respectively. After joining NTT WEST in 2007, he worked on service development for the high-speed optical fiber Internet connection service FLET’S HIKARI Next. Since 2012, he has been engaged in R&D of next-generation Ethernet technology.
Yuki Takagi
Engineer, First Promotion Project, NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories.
He received the B.E. degree in mechanical engineering from Osaka University in 2009. In 2011, he joined NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories, where he has been engaged in R&D of next-generation Ethernet technology.
Yoshiaki Sone
Research Engineer, First Promotion Project, NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories.
He received the B.E. and M.E. degrees in electronics engineering from Tohoku University, Miyagi, in 2001 and 2003, respectively. In 2003, he joined NTT Network Innovation Laboratories and engaged in research on network engineering technology for optical transport networks. He is currently engaged in the development of systems for wide-area Ethernet services in NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories. He is a member of the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers.

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