Layer 1 Switches Offer Resiliency

Monaco, Jeffrey
November 2004
Business Communications Review;Nov2004, Vol. 34 Issue 11, p54
Trade Publication
The article describes some situations where a Layer 1 switch neatly and cleanly solves some vexing design issues. Layer 1 switch is a device that operates at Layer 1 in the OSI model. The device transmits electrical or optical signals; it does not concern itself with bits, bytes or protocols. Several things make Layer 1 switches attractive. First, the port settings are software-controllable. Second, the switches support any number of connection types, such as: RJ45, DB9, AC power, singlemode and multimode fiber with various connector types. Third, and most important for a resilient design, the switches transmit signals even if the box is "down." By using the Layer 1 switch, the Layer 2 switches in the closets do not have to be dual-supervisor and dual-power-supply flavor. This makes for a more cost effective solution. It neatly solves the problem of a failed chassis blade. An interesting variant of this has to do with Layer 2 switches that support wireless LAN access points. Layer 1 switching can be useful in the WAN environment as well.


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