Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Metrobility makes short leap with Gigabit Ethernet range

Published in Interface Tech News

MERRIMACK, N.H. ‹ Working to appeal to telecom carriers, Metrobility Optical Systems has extended Gigabit Ethernet transmission distances to 70 kilometers (43.5 miles), considered by many to be a marginal improvement over the 40-50 km (25-31 miles) typically available.

"This is not the order of magnitude improvement the industry is looking for," said Aberdeen Group analyst Andrew McCormick.

Metrobility officials said the company offers signal re-timing to combat the attenuation of an optical signal over distance, and that there are several distances available, rather than just a 70-km length.

Company senior product manager Charlie Wang said Metrobility complements its extended network distance with its NetBeacon software. NetBeacon, Wang said, not only permits long-distance data transmission, but also troubleshooting capability for remote locations and network links.

"When you have a problem, our link-loss return capability allows us to do troubleshooting (remotely)," Wang said.

Wang said he sees the new development as a move toward expanding metropolitan regional networks and reaching rural locations.

"We extend the traditional WAN capability into a metropolitan Ethernet network," Wang said. "This type of capability can fit into all sorts of situations."

The company intends to offer more products for carriers, including optical Ethernetworking, which, as of press time, was expected to enter volume production in August.

McCormick was not enthused. "If you can get some extra distance, you can go a little bit farther," he said, noting there are some better services, like Sonnet and ATM for longer-distance high-bandwidth connections.

The distance extension comes as part of Metrobility's process to refocus on service providers rather than just equipment manufacturers. "We have realigned our company's product portfolio," Wang said.

Metrobility also has a patent pending on its "Stealth IP" technology, which Wang said makes use of space between Ethernet packets for network monitoring and maintenance without increasing demands on available bandwidth.