Three Design Steps

The design of a long-distance network involves basically three considerations:

1. Routing scheme given inlet and outlet points and their traffic intensities

2. Switching scheme and associated signaling and

3. Transmission plan

In the design each design step will interact with the other two. In addition, the system designer must specify the type of traffic, lost-call criterion or grade of service, a sur-vivability criterion, forecast growth, and quality of service (QoS). The tradeoff of these factors with economy is probably the most vital part of initial planning and downstream system design.

Consider transcontinental communications in the United States. Service is now available for people in New York to talk to people in San Francisco. From the history of this service, we have some idea of how many people wish to talk, how often, and for how long. These factors are embodied in traffic intensity and calling rate. There are also other cities on the West Coast to be served and other cities on the East Coast. In addition, there are existing traffic nodes at intermediate points such as Chicago and St. Louis. An obvious approach would be to concentrate all traffic into one transcontinental route with drops and inserts at intermediate points.

Again, we must point out that switching enhances the transmission facilities. From an economic point of view, it would be desirable to make transmission facilities (carrier, radio, and cable systems) adaptive to traffic load. These facilities taken alone are inflexible. The property of adaptivity, even when the transmission potential for it has been predesigned through redundancy, cannot be exercised, except through the mechanism of switching in some form. It is switching that makes transmission adaptive.

The following requirements for switching ameliorate the weaknesses of transmission systems: concentrate light, discretely offered traffic from a multiplicity of sources and thus enhance the utilization factor of transmission trunks; select and make connections to a statistically described distribution of destinations per source; and restore connections interrupted by internal or external disturbances, thus improving reliabilities (and survivability) from the levels on the order of 90% to 99% to levels on the order of 99% to 99.9% or better. Switching cannot carry out this task alone. Constraints have to be iterated or fed back to the transmission systems, even to the local area. The transmission system must not excessively degrade the signal to be transported; it must meet a reliability constraint expressed in MTBF (mean time between failures) and availability and must have an alternative route scheme in case of facility loss, whether switching node or trunk route. This latter may be termed survivability and is only partially related to overflow (e.g., alternative routing).

The single transcontinental main traffic route in the United States suggested earlier has the drawback of being highly vulnerable. Its level of survivability is poor. At least one other route would be required. Then why not route that one south to pick up drops and inserts? Reducing the concentration in the one route would result in a savings. Capital, of course, would be required for the second route. We could examine third and fourth routes to improve reliability—survivability and reduce long feeders for concentration at the expense of less centralization. In fact, with overflow, one to the other, dimensioning can be reduced without reduction of overall grade of service.

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