Express Networking

Anritsu's latest switch extends LANs on a budget.

Anritsu Co.s multiflow 5128 is a practical, high-speed multilayer switch that enables IT managers at small-to-midsize organizations to extend enterprise networks to entire campuses and MANs.

eWeek Labs tests showed that the MultiFlow 5128, which has a base price of $16,000 and will ship this month with six-port Gigabit Ethernet modules, although less expensive than more comprehensive offerings from Foundry Networks Inc. and Extreme Networks Inc., delivers the speed and reliability necessary for extending smaller LANs across metropolitan area networks and WANs.

By implementing Anritsus ONE (Optical Network Extension) technology and QOS (quality of service), the MultiFlow 5128 switch chassis meets requirements for extending networks while allowing IT managers to keep tighter reins on usage.

Although 10G-bps Ethernet will provide an even faster way to extend networks, the industry isnt expected to adopt that standard until next year. Until then, the MultiFlow 5128 will be a cost-effective, high-speed alternative to ATM technology for expanding lower-end networks.

In tests, the MultiFlow 5128 performed well in all categories except one: Adding full-line-rate duplex traffic on 100M-bps Ethernet ports within one data channel resulted in slightly increased jitter, which didnt occur when we added similarly heavy traffic to separate data channels.

To simulate a high-traffic enterprise network, we used Adtech Inc.s AX 4000 traffic generation tool to test a MultiFlow 5128 switch configured with 16 100BaseTX ports, an OC-3 module and three 1,000BaseSX modules.

One-stop transmissions

Anritsus one technology enables the switch to transport all Ethernet traffic over a full-duplex OC-48 SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) connection. The MultiFlow 5128 can also transmit in full duplex over OC-48 links of up to 80 kilometers or over distances of any length using Wavelength Division Multiplexing, allowing enterprises to extend their networks over MANs to connect corporate offices and larger branch offices via VPNs (virtual private networks) at OC-48 speeds.

The OC-48 MAN links offer a high-speed backbone alternative to the traditional FDDI, Fast Ethernet and OC-3 ATM technology currently deployed in enterprise backbone LANs. OC-48 Packet Over SONET interfaces are available, but they are generally relegated to large Internet routers and are often limited to IP traffic.

With the MultiFlow 5128 and Anritsus OC-48 SONET and ONE technology, IT managers will be able to extend their enterprise networks over WANs because ONE technology transports all Ethernet traffic while implementing Layer 2 and Layer 3 QOS.

All link aggregation and QOS implementation is based on IEEE standards such as the Bridge Control Protocol RFC 2878, ensuring the MultiFlow 5128s future compatibility and scalability.

With the completion of the 10G-bps Ethernet project, compatibility and scalability issues will play a major role in IT decisions to purchase LAN rather than MAN and WAN technology. Investing in a technology that is open to growth by implementing IEEE standards ensures a good return on investment.

Another feature that IT managers will find useful is the switchs ability to aggregate LAN and WAN traffic while creating fault-tolerant SONET rings without using add/drop multiplexers, which are costly and complicated and introduce network points of failure.