SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) is a standard technology for synchronous data transmission on optical media. It is the international equivalent of Synchronous Optical Network. Both technologies provide faster and less expensive network interconnection than traditional PDH (Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy) equipment.
In digital telephone transmission, "synchronous" means the bits from one call are carried within one transmission frame. "Plesiochronous" means "almost (but not) synchronous," or a call that must be extracted from more than one transmission frame.
SDH uses the following Synchronous Transport Modules (STM) and rates:
- STM-1 (155 megabits per second),
- STM-4 (622 Mbps),
- STM-16 (2.5 gigabits per second), and
- STM-64 (10 Gbps).