SONET, or Synchronous Optical Network, is best understood as a communication protocol. This technology can transfer a number of digital bit streams over fiber optical networks, using LEDs or lasers. SONET optical networks are capable of carrying large amounts of data over these fiber optic cables at lightning-fast speeds. Read on to find out more about SONET and its numerous benefits for your organization.

Understanding SONET Optical Network

Although SONET as a technology was introduced in 1984, it was in 1988 that this communication protocol was Standardized by ANSI (American National Standards Institute).
SONET optical network works in a manner that is similar to other fiber optic communication technologies. It can transmit multiple digital data streams simultaneously using laser beams or LEDs that are reflected along the fiber-optic tunnel.
This communication protocol is popular for its reliability and stability of service. Even if the distances are great, the signals can regenerate themselves and get a boost rather than becoming weak over long distances.
As one of the most efficient communication services in the telecom domain, SONET is capable of carrying multiple data streams using standardized line rates.
SONET’s network architecture has built-in redundancy to make sure that the data is transferred accurately and properly even if a portion of the network is not functioning or has failed.

Network Elements of SONET

The following are the network elements of a SONET optical connection:

STS Multiplexer

STS multiplexer performs signal multiplexing by converting the electrical signals into optical signals.

STS Demultiplexer

The STS demultiplexer converts the optical signals back into electrical signals so that they can be delivered as intended.


A regenerator is more of a repeater that regenerates a signal as it travels over long distances. It makes sure that the signals do not lose their strength as they are bounced off the walls of the optical fiber line.

Add/Drop Multiplexer

This element of a solid optical network allows signals coming in from different sources to collect in a given path. Depending on the desired requirements it can add or drop signals.

Add/Drop Multiplexer

SONET Layers

The SONET comprises four layers. Three in the data link section and one physical layer. These are:

  1. Path Layer – This layer is responsible for the movement of the signal from its optical source to its optical destination.

  2. Line Layer – The line addresses the movement of the signal through the physical line.

  3. Section Layer – Section layer functions are a part of each network component or device. The section layer looks after the movement of the signal across the physical section of the optical network.

  4. Photonic Layer – The photonic layer works In line with the physical layer of an OSI model. This layer carries the specifications for the sonnet optical network.

Advantages of SONET Optical Network

The most common advantages of SONET optical network include the following:

  • Lower cost of equipment for transmitting signals over vast distances while maintaining their quality.

  • A higher level of network connectivity

  • Increased efficiency irrespective of the type of traffic being transmitted

  • Smoother connectivity between different network service providers or Telecom carriers.

  • This technology comes with a highly flexible architecture making it compatible with current as well as legacy systems.

  • One of the biggest advantages of the SONET optical network is that it offers easy multiplexing as well as de-multiplexing features.

  • Resources need not be present on-site to look after the operational requirements as this can work efficiently in a remote operating environment as well.

  • SONET offers standard optical interference and out of band management systems.

  • Security- since the service can be designed as completely private and dedicated to one specific customer, network security is highly maintained.

  • Redundancy due to “East” to “West” optical signal switching in the event of “Backhoe fade” (fiber cut).

Like most other networking Technologies SONET also has its share of drawbacks which include:

  • This service comes without an interoperability standard so matching manufacturer equipment must be used (In most cases).

  • At higher capacities, bandwidth efficiency can become questionable.

  • In contrast to optical Ethernet, SONET equipment can the highly expensive to install and maintain.

Advantages of SONET Optical Network

In Conclusion

It were initially developed for voice communications but have gained immense importance over the last few decade in data transmission technologies as well. Today, many corporations and businesses are looking at adopting SONET optical networks due to its many advantages and high security. If you would like to understand more about how a this optical network can benefit your business requirements, then feel free to contact us directly. You can also fill your details in the webform below and our experts can get in touch with you for an initial consultation completely free of charge.

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