National Chinese university upgrades campus network to SDH

National Chinese university upgrades campus network to SDH

By ROBERT PEASE

The Lan Zhou Railway University, owners of the second largest telecommunications network in the People`s Republic of China, recently upgraded its campus network from standard point-to-point multiplexers to higher-capacity Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) multiplexing capability. The university combined separate private voice and data networks into a single network infrastructure.

Each year the Lan Zhou Railway University trains hundreds of railway students from provincial railway system organizations, including tele com muni ca tions engineers. Before upgrading the university network, separate private networks were maintained for voice and data. As part of the upgrade, ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Minneapolis, MN) deployed its Soneplex Access Multiplexer system, which merges the two networks with nodes that combine and terminate E1 (2.048-Mbit/sec) and E3 (34-Mbit/sec) voice and data traffic from the university`s Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network (see Figure).

Gao Pu, director of the equipment division for the Lan Zhou Railway University, says the system was a perfect fit for the campus` network needs. "Since we didn`t need many E1 ports, it was extremely cost-effective, and we can upgrade to STM-4 [622 Mbits/sec] in the future without service interruption," says Pu.

According to Tom Anderson, international marketing manager for ADC, the university chose the system for its small size. The lack of a central office environment and some very intense space limitations demanded the deployment to be done in a telecommunications-closet application.

"Since this is a campus setting, the fiber runs aren`t nearly as long as you`d find in a cross-country network," says Anderson. "Since fiber runs are relatively short between the three buildings involved, length isn`t much of an issue either."

The SDH ring solution set up by ADC allows the university to upgrade the network easily from its current E3 ATM switch interfaces. The network is expected to grow to STM-1 (155-Mbit/sec) branches within two years, requiring an upgrade of the ring to STM-4. Additionally, more buildings are expected to tie into the system, requiring additional nodes on the ring. More services are expected to be offered on the network as well. All of the upgrades can be accomplished without an interruption in service, adds Anderson.

The other critical requirement for the Lan Zhou Railway University network was a management system that would allow the entire network to be managed from a central point. ADC`s solution includes a point-and-click graphical user interface (GUI) that transcends English-Chinese translation problems by using pictorial representations of key functions. The GUI also includes a paging function. So not only can the network be managed from one location, but in the event of a network alarm, the system automatically pages the network manager.

"With this system, the network can be managed without actually manning the network-management center," says Anderson. "That also contributes to lower overall costs."

The campus network is tied directly to the public network and the railway network backbones through ATM switches. ADC`s solution was installed in September 1998, taking about two days to install and begin operations. q

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