Perle Systems Application Note
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) infrastructures are a viable solution in any major city due to the extensive presence of dark fiber (also known as single mode fiber). Dark fiber refers to:
By leasing dark fiber from a network service provider, businesses can tap into fiber optic network resources and extend their Local Area Network (LAN) up to 160km, therefore enabling a MAN.
This type of network extension allows organizations to continue using their Ethernet LAN systems throughout multiple locations in a wide metropolitan area. MANs also enable consistent performance between offices and avoid the shortfalls associated with Wide Area Network (WAN) systems.
Typically, WANs are established by extending the LAN through a service provider connection. The process requires LAN protocol to ISP protocol conversion at the point of transition. This forces organizations to invest in expensive router solutions to handle the protocol conversion. It is costly solution for the ISP to offer and it generally causes decreased bandwidth. MANs, on the other hand, permit communication between network equipment using native protocols like Fast Ethernet or Gigabit.
In addition, MANs give businesses more control over their network. They are no longer dependent on the intermediary service provider to perform monitoring, management and diagnostic tasks throughout the network and remote locations.
Media Converters play a major role in MAN deployment. They ensure a smooth transition between the local Ethernet setup and the dark fiber. This allows the network to handle the same protocol throughout data transmission and facilitates a major performance boost over WAN systems.