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  • JIT Network Protocal Tested
May 2004
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., May 5 -- The MCNC Research & Development Institute (MCNC-RDI), of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said it recently demonstrated the just-in-time (JIT) optical networking protocol for ultrafast provisioning and management of all-optical network connections for the Federal Communications Commission at the Naval Research Laboratory's Center for Computational Science.

Developed jointly by researchers at MCNC-RDI and North Carolina State University, JIT is being used to create a new optical network service that features fine-grain multiplexing of wavelengths. The protocol is a new approach to light path provisioning that could significantly reduce communication delays in the networks and improve efficiency for applications bound by limited resources such as the wireless spectrum, the FCC said. MCNC-RDI said JIT technology offers advantages in other types of communication networks, such as wireless and satellite.

Since October 2002, JIT signaling protocols and hardware implementations have been deployed across test-bed networks confirming the viability of ultrafast provisioning. In January 2004, MCNC-RDI demonstrated the JIT protocol to the FCC by transporting uncompressed digital 1.5 gigabits high-definition television (HDTV) signals through an all-optical light path. The HDTV transmission required no conversion processing within the network as it remained in the all-optical data plane from source to destination, the institute said.

"JIT provides a mechanism to establish end-to-end optical connections in microseconds, where data can be as small as packets or as large as long-lived light paths," said Dan Stevenson, vice president of MCNC-RDI's Advanced Network Research Division. "Multiwavelength, reconfigurable optical networks offer greater capabilities than current transport SONET and IP router technologies when applications need large data units to achieve and maintain sustained data rates as high as 10 Gb/s."
The JIT protocol combines features of packet and circuit switched services and provides out-of-band control signal processing to maximize setup time and optical switch bandwidth efficiency. Signal messages travel in advance of the data they are describing and undergo electro-optical conversion at each intermediate node. Switching elements inside the switches are configured for the incoming data (a "tell-and-go" approach), thus minimizing network latency by eliminating round-trip waiting time. In JIT, data remains transparent to the intermediate network, which means data channels being transmitted on individual wavelengths can convey analog (e.g., radar) and digital traffic in any format, data rate or modulation scheme, the MCNC-RDI said.

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