E3 Fiber coming into customer site

I am working with a customer that has an E3 fiber coming into their site.  Right now it is going into a multiplexer that is broken out into 16 seperate e1 connections that go out to several different tail sites.  I am wondering if there is a Cisco card available that I can have the e3 connect direclty into the cisco router.  Then do I need to configure frame-relay of some sort to connect to all the distant end sites?  Sorry I am fairly new to all this and am trying to find the best solution.  

Thanks for all your help!
JSachettiAsked:
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pergrCommented:
First of all, check if the fiber actually has an E3, or if it has an STM-1, although the customer is paying for an E3.

Typically a link like this would use SDH, and there is no smaller interface than STM-1. It would be clear by looking at the multiplexer.

So, the card you need is a channelized E3, or channelized STM-1. For most router models there are channelized cards available - but typically it is either:
- channelized E3 on copper coax interface
- channelized STM-1 on fiber interface

If there is one for the Cisco in question will depend on what model it is.

Once you find a card, you configure it to break out individual E1 (within the E3 or STM-1).

On each E1 you can choose encapsulation just like any other E1, that is, HDLC, PPP or frame relay.
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JSachettiAuthor Commented:
Thanks a lot for your response - I'll find out more about the multiplexer they're using.  I'll do some research on how to configure an E3 card to break it out into individual E1's.
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JSachettiAuthor Commented:
The multiplexer is an Bayly Omniskip E3/E1 with fiber coming in and splitting into 16 BNC.  Right now I'm converting the BNC into RJ-45 and connecting into different Vwic-2mft-t1/e1 cards.  My goal is to clean it up and eliminate the multiplexer and have the fiber connect directly into my Cisco router.  Currently we have a 3945 but are thinking about upgrading to an ASR 1006
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pergrCommented:
Most router models, from Cisco and Juniper, has channelized E3 cards. However, I believe all of them are with copper coax ports.

I suspect you will have to find a media converter to convert from optical to copper if you want use a channelized router card. Or better, have the network provider use STM-1 instead, since all router cards for that are optical.
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JSachettiAuthor Commented:
Ok - so once I find out if it's an E3 or STM -1 I can go about picking out what card to use.

Would Frame Relay be the best option for configuration Since this is a hub and spoke architecture where the E3 comes into the main site and E1's go out to remote sites?

Thanks again for your help - this is very helpful to have someone answer questions.
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pergrCommented:
There is no reason to change from what you have now (probably HDLC) to frame relay, which has more overhead. It also means you do not need to re-configure the far ends.
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JSachettiAuthor Commented:
Sorry I haven't responded for a while.  I was away for a couple weeks.  

So Cisco does have a E3/T3 copper coax card but it is not chanellized.  I've used this in the past for our DS3's.  

What information/questions do you think I should ask of the service provider to find out how to architect this solution?  Thanks again for your help!
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JSachettiAuthor Commented:
I'm thinking about using a NM-1A-T3/E3 card for this.  Would this allow me to eliminate the multiplexer at the hub site?  I can then channelize the E3 card into different E1.
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pergrCommented:
Ask the SP to keep the mud they have, but hand you a coax channelized E3.

Unless you may grow above 16 E1 in the future, in which case you want to consider an STM-1.
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