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RE: Long distance links

It seems yo me that you are talking at cross purposes. The
diagnostic/management requirements of a point-to-point data link,
regardless of its length, are dramaticly different from those of a
topologically more complex network (mesh, dual ring, etc.). Length, in and
of itself, doesn't create complexity. The management complexity of a WAN
results from the multiple data paths, each having multiple failure modes.

There is an English expression, "Horses for Courses", which I think
applies. There are numerous Enterprise Networks with the odd flyer location
requiring a long point-to-point link. As you point out, there are few
failure modes. Contrast this with the proposals making the rounds for
transcontinental native GbE networks incorporating DWDMs, optical add/drops
and cross con- nects, EDFAs, etc. While the hardware may turn out to be the
same for both applications, the diagnostic/management  software and
firmware will be quite different.