City opts for Optical Ethernet
- By Brian Robinson
- Dec 10, 2002
City of Roanoke
To ensure that their city had enough bandwidth for future security and e-government
needs, officials in Roanoke, Va., have opted to run tried-and-true Ethernet
over the city's optical fiber network in place of its old Token Ring system.
Not only does that provide a cost-effective solution for future demands,
it also will enable other things such as a citywide voice-over-IP service
that might not have been possible otherwise, according to city executives.
The Optical Ethernet network, which is being supplied by Nortel Networks
Ltd., is already delivering basic enterprise applications such as e-mail
to government employees, said Joe Slone, Roanoke's director of technology.
The next phase will be integrating voice services for the government,
which will link about 15 remote sites around the city into the optical ring.
"We are pretty heavily integrated in the public safety area already,"
Slone said. "In the future, we also want to tie such things as mug shots
and fingerprints [into the network], both of which generate high bandwidth
traffic. And we see [geographic information systems] taking off for emergency
management and mobile data reporting."
The Optical Ethernet network "positions us for the future" and allows
the city to expand bandwidth to as much as it needs, Slone said.
Optical Ethernet allows for connections of 10 megabits/sec, 100 megabits/sec
and 1 gigabit/sec, said Elaine Jolley, a Nortel senior manager. It also
provides for centralization of servers and storage, which is an increasingly
important need for local governments.
"The key is certainly access to fiber," Jolley said, "but since Sept.
11[, 2001] another big thing has become cities wanting their own network
infrastructure because of the need for better security."
The company's Optical Ethernet solution, which Nortel already has installed
in a number of other cities, is a way for municipalities to do this and
not have to rely on major carriers to provide much more expensive bandwidth
for them, she said.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be
reached at [email protected].
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.