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In order to determine where each channel is located in the stream of data being received, each set of 24 channels is aligned in a frame. The frame is 192 bits long (8 * 24), and is terminated with a 193rd bit, the framing bit, which is used to find the end of the frame.
In order for the framing bit to be located by receiving equipment, a pattern is sent on this bit. Equipment will search for a bit which has the correct pattern, and will align its framing based on that bit. The pattern sent is 12 bits long, so every group of 12 frames is called a superframe. The pattern used in the 193rd bit is 1000 1101 1100.
Superframe remained in service in many places through the turn of the century, replaced by the improved extended superframe (ESF) of the 1980s in applications where its additional features were desired.
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