Who can use DWDM?

The likely federal users of Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) or Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM) fall into two categories, according to market analysts at Gartner Inc.

The first includes agencies with a need for high-bandwidth applications, such as desktop video or computer-aided design. The second includes those that have large data centers with proprietary networking protocols, said John Mazur, principal analyst of optical network equipment at Gartner.

Those proprietary protocols include Enterprise System Connector, Fiber Connector, Fiber Distributed Data Interface, Fibre Channel, High-Speed ParallelP ort Interface and High-Speed Serial Interface.

Although they are used within data centers, the proprietary networking protocols are not standard across wide-area networks, Mazur noted. There, the Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) has been standard.

But many of today's SONETs are slowly becoming DWDM networks, said Joe Padgett, senior director of marketing at Nortel Networks Ltd.'s metro optical products division.

As data overtakes voice-on-voice networks and voice becomes an application on many Ethernet data networks, the convergence of the two creates a need for DWDM interoperability between the WAN and the federal data center.

"Data services such as telemetry, alarm information, surveillance and access to the Internet create a demand for Ethernet traffic to support these data services in the base environment," said Rob Koslowsky, director of marketing for optical transport at Cisco Systems Inc.

To address bandwidth bottlenecks, Cisco provides a multiservice metro transport platform called the ONS 15454. The product combines voice and data services with integrated DWDM.

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