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REVIEW: "SONET, Second Edition", Walter J. Goralski

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKSONET.RVW 20000606 SONET, Second Edition , Walter J. Goralski, 2000, 0-07-212570-5, U$65.00 %A Walter J. Goralski %C 300 Water Street, Whitby, Ontario
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 28, 2000
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      BKSONET.RVW 20000606

      "SONET, Second Edition", Walter J. Goralski, 2000, 0-07-212570-5,
      %A Walter J. Goralski
      %C 300 Water Street, Whitby, Ontario L1N 9B6
      %D 2000
      %G 0-07-212570-5
      %I McGraw-Hill Ryerson/Osborne
      %O U$65.00 905-430-5000 800-565-5758
      %P 675 p.
      %T "SONET, Second Edition"

      Goralski stated, in the preface to the first edition, that he wrote
      this book because he was fundamentally dissatisfied with the books
      written for SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork). I hope he becomes
      dissatisfied with some more topics. Not that I wish him any ill, but
      the results greatly benefit the rest of us. This second version
      updates and extends the material in the original volume.

      Part one is an introduction to fiber optics and SONET. Chapter one is
      basic background to the need for SONET, citing increasing computing
      capabilities and communications requirements, but not really stating
      the necessity for the new technology. The advantages of fiber itself
      is made manifestly obvious in chapter two. Cost, weight, security,
      repair, bandwidth, and distance all factor into the equation. (The
      disadvantages of fiber, such as its antipathy towards water and
      sunlight, are also mentioned.) Along with the additional physics of
      glass and fiber in chapter three, this makes for one of the best
      explanations of fiber optics that I've ever read. Chapter three also
      presents material on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). Chapter
      four demonstrates the advantages that digital transmission holds over
      analogue. (This chapter also explains the importance of the "T-
      carrier" system and designations, which appear in earlier chapters but
      may be a bit bemusing for the uninitiated.)

      Part two begins to examine SONET itself, providing background and
      technical details. The American history and evolution of SONET, and
      its compatibility with the international Synchronous Digital Hierarchy
      (SDH) are clearly explained in chapter five. SONET architecture and
      protocols, in chapter six, are presented lucidly and in detail. This
      chapter is mostly accessible to the intelligent lay reader, but the
      significance of the material is probably going to be more apparent to
      the specialist in communications technology. (On the other hand,
      nothing that I have ever read is clearer on the subject.) A new
      chapter seven deals with the payloads that SONET is being made to
      carry. In communications, even more than in computing, timing is
      everything. Again, newcomers will not understand as much of the
      significance of the synchronization problems and solutions in chapter
      eight as the technical reader, but they will be able to see the
      difficulty and the resolution.

      Part three moves from the protocols and standards into the real,
      practical, hardware world. Chapter nine provides a high level
      overview and a rough structure of SONET networks. The major network
      component types are described in chapter ten. (Optical Network Units,
      or ONUs, are neither widely used nor really a part of SONET, and so
      are mentioned only briefly.) Chapter eleven gets very real and looks
      at the major SONET equipment vendors, their product lines, product
      uses, and even some sample installation configurations.

      The specific advantages of SONET that were not explicitly stated in
      chapter one are explained in detail in part four. As Goralski points
      out, at the beginning of chapter twelve, many recent communications
      technologies have promised "improvements" that turned out to be vague
      and indirect at best. He goes to some detail to demonstrate that
      SONET has practical and direct benefits for both carriers and
      customers. Chapter thirteen looks at the tightly coupled operations,
      administration, maintenance, and provisioning features built into
      SONET. In terms of reliability, one of the advantages of SONET is the
      ring structure, the fault tolerance of which is amply described in
      chapter fourteen.

      SONET is not yet fully available, and so part five discusses aspects
      of implementation. Chapter fifteen looks at the laying of both
      networked and "dark" fiber around the United States. Many new
      applications (such as the distribution of cinema quality movies by
      wire) become possible with SONET, but only if carriers provide the
      service. Chapter sixteen looks at both applications and service
      provision. The future of SONET is considered in chapter seventeen.
      Chapter sixteen ends the book with a comparison of the differences
      (fairly minor) between SDH and SONET.

      I was rather surprised to find that some of the errors from the
      original edition are still included in the book. One example is that
      figure 12.4 is still entitled "A unidirectional ring" and 12.5 is
      entitled "A bidirectional SONET ring," while both of them actually
      show a bidirectional ring.

      However, overall this text is the best I have yet come across on the
      topic. Network designers get technical details. Lay readers get
      lucid explanations. Managers get implications. Those responsible for
      implementation get vendor contacts. (And whoever did the copy editing
      gets a C-.)

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998, 2000 BKSONET.RVW 20000606

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments,
      but what is woven into the lives of others. - Pericles
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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