The high speed interface between the optical receiver and down stream
hardware requires careful attention to detail. Sub-optimal design of this
interface could, at best cause increased BER, and at worst, the complete
interruption of traffic. High speed design skills are critical to allow
optimum performance of the system at SONET speeds. Typically these designs
involve a serial link from the receiver to a clock recovery device and
deserialization to a more manageable bus speed. Once deserialized the
data stream must be carefully routed to avoid timing skew between data
bits. Traditional SONET designs use a mapper device to handle the overhead
information and IP packet or ATM cell mapping in the SONET bit stream.
This mapper may be implemented in a programmable FPGA device, bought as
a chip, or designed as part of an ASIC. The mapper output could be passed
to an embedded controller for further processing or through a switch fabric
to implement a SONET switch.
with newer designs is greater integration of the various building blocks.
Using a high speed network processor allows real time processing of the
SONET data as it flows through the processor. Some of these processors
also incorporate the SONET mapper function which removes the need for
an external device.