North American Network Operators Group

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RE: Backbone Infrastructure and Secrecy

  • From: Gil Levi
  • Date: Wed Jul 09 12:57:08 2003

Peter wrote:
>I hate to be a doom sayer, but any chump with a couple of tools and
>rudimentary knowledge can lift manholes, cut cables and jump to another
>location in minutes. No amount of diversity could defend against a
>attack like that unless you start installing very special low-level routes
>away from street level into many many buildings.

While it is impossible to stop someone (a terrorist) from cutting fiber, it
is possible to limit his ability to do damage. It is possible to create
alternative routes to be used in such cases. Then while the primary route
may be down, the alternate route will be used and no terrorist should be
able to locate the alternative route since this is something known only to
the telecom carrier and is definitely not public knowledge. While this is
not new to anyone, what is new is that cutting the cost of this alternate
route for every fiber is the key to making no single points of failures.
This means that carriers must be able NOT to double equipment just because
another link is used. There is such a solution and it is the use of optical
protection. optical networks can be protected in the optical domain without
the cost of additional equipment - adding only the cost of the optical
protection equipment which is an order of magnitude lower than that of the
high data rate equipment. This allows the carriers to double up on equipment
only once (to deal with equipment failure using today's redundancy schemes)
and use the SAME double equipment to protect from fiber cuts as well by
providing disaster recovery architectures in the optical domain.