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Testing for high speed communications

Mobile ’phones, the internet and e-commerce continue to drive the demand for more and more bandwidth and higher and higher data rates. The bandwidth demand has also created a market for test equipment for the new high speed technology. By Andy Dawes.

The stages in the development of synchronous digital hierarchy (sdh) communications have proved interesting. The development of sdh – as well as Sonet (synchronous optical network) for the North American environment – involved the definition of several data rates that had never previously been achieved.

Data communication rates roughly equivalent to STM-4 (622Mbit/s) had been commonplace for several years before the adoption of the sdh standards, but the higher rates of STM-16 (2.488Gbit/s), STM-64 (9.953Gbit/s) and STM-256 (39.81Gbit/s) were conceived if not in the absence of the technology, then certainly in advance of it. The upper rates of sdh were defined not because they were possible but simply because they were needed. The increasing demand for bandwidth has made higher data rates, along with dense wavelength division multiplexing (dwdm) technology, an absolute necessity.

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Graham Pitcher

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