Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
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Matt Brunk | January 28, 2013 |


ADTRAN ActivChassis Hardens LAN Side

ADTRAN ActivChassis Hardens LAN Side Managing a converged network offers key challenges in maintenance and always-on access reliability. The LAN infrastructure must be hardened against everything, and to do so requires investment.

Managing a converged network offers key challenges in maintenance and always-on access reliability. The LAN infrastructure must be hardened against everything, and to do so requires investment.

Managing a converged network offers key challenges in maintenance and always-on access reliability. As I've stated in the past, the LAN infrastructure must be hardened against everything, and to do so requires investment.

There are three distinct LAN-side weaknesses that we've identified repeatedly when we begin and end our projects. Power is almost always at the top of the list, and we've removed plenty of LAN switches with bad ports, burned-up fans and flaky power supplies.

The next common issue is the link between closets. In the verticals we serve, cost is key and we use features in the switch aggregation and port channels to bond two or more ports on the same switch together to provide more bandwidth and redundancy for the links between closets. We use both copper and fiber ports for diversity. That's a terrific feature until that switch goes out of service. Moving the ports is easy if they are available on another switch in that stack (closet) but then there's the reprogramming and it can take some time to restore.

Then making software changes or upgrades to firmware and managing multiple switches in a closet can be time-consuming.

Now Adtran has introduced ActivChassis, which addresses these specific issues and provides up to 128 Gbps of stacking throughput to handle the glut of devices moving to the network. To take advantage of ActivChassis, customers need the Netvanta 1638 switch platform, stacking modules and an ActivChassis switch acting as "master" and one acting as "backup." Then, the closets must be interconnected in a "ring network."

The 1638 is 1U, providing 48 ports and 2 high-speed slot options. Eight switches can be configured in one stack, simplifying the management and configuration file down to one. Closets or buildings supported can be separated by either short or long haul (up to 6 miles). Each ActivChassis switch stack provides 400 ports in 8U of rack space.

The value-add is that there is no licensing cost to gain ActivChassis features. The firmware is a free upgrade. This is easier to manage, and produces a high availability network by removing the single points of failure, with links between closets. Also, the Netvanta 1638 offers field replaceable fans and power supplies. When a single switch goes down, all other switches in the stack remain connected and active.

I also think the 128 Gbps of throughput is notable because we are witnessing our recent network implementations grow with M2M, WiFi users and new requirements for streaming video, for classroom and emergency communications.

The graphic below shows a typical installation:

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