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OFC 2014 Recap and Best-in-Show

By Scott Kipp

OFC 2014 was buzzing with many new releases of 100GbE optics and 400GbE demonstrations.  The 100GbE modules have definitely proliferated with demonstrations of CFP, CXP, CFP2, CFP4 and QSFP28 form factors.  The new types of 100GbE optical interfaces discussed included PSM4, C-BAND, CWDM and IEEE standardized SR10, SR4 and LR4.  Several vendors had 400GbE modules on display and Finisar and TE Connectivity showed working CDFP modules.  The proliferation of 100GbE is upon us, and the 400GbE physical layer is right around the corner.  

Hot topics from OFC will be discussed in the inaugural session of Analysts’s Hour that I will be hosting on Wednesday, March 26th at 10am Pacific with Dale Murray of LightCounting.  I saw Dale all over the floor of OFC and he’s going to give you the scoop on what he saw if you ask some questions.  Dale is also going to talk about the next generation of Ethernet that is after the 10Gb/s family which includes 10GbE, 40GbE (4X10Gb/s) and 100GbE (10X10Gb/s).  This webinar is only for Ethernet Alliance members and they can sign up for the webinar here. Furthermore, the webinar will be archived on the Ethernet Alliance members-only website.

In the recent past, I’ve blogged about the IEEE 802.3bm work to standardize a 500 meter 100GbE PMD.  As posted comments in the notes portion of the blog, I stated that none of the contenders could reach the 75% required to be accepted as an IEEE standard.  Instead of an IEEE standard, three of the candidates for the 500 meter reach have formed or are forming Multi-Sourcing Agreements (MSAs).  With these new MSAs, AOCs and emerging form factors, we’ll have a plethora of 100GbE options for single-mode fiber (SMF).  Here is a run-down of options for 100GbE over single-mode fiber:

  1. CFP/CFP2/CFP4- LR4 – The LR4 camp has always said that they just need volume to drive down the cost of LR4.  Finisar demonstrated the 100GBASE-LR4 in the CFP4 form factor in the Ethernet Alliance booth.
  2. QSFP28 LR4 – Source Photonics showed a 3.5W QSFP28 that increases the density of 100GBASE-LR4 even farther.   More vendors will have 100GbE in this compact form factor over the next couple years.
  3. PSM4 – The PSM4 group released draft 1.0 of their specification that supports 500 meters and 3.0dB of connector loss over 8 fibers.  You can download the specification here: www.psm4.org
  4. CWDM – This MSA isn’t formed yet, but Andy Bechtolsheim of Arista Networks held up a CLR4 module during his panel discussion with me and claimed it was going to be a game changer. Skorpios announced a 10 km demonstration.  Expect some public announcements soon.
  5. OpenOptics MSA – Mellanox and Ranovus started a multi-sourcing agreement (MSA) for their C-Band (1550nm) solution that goes 2km.  This corresponds to the C-Band proposal that saw little support in IEEE. 
  6. AOC – Molex demonstrated a 1.5W QSFP28 active optical cable (AOC) that will eventually comply with the PSM4 MSA.

If competition leads to lower costs, then 100GbE SMF should be dropping soon.

My best-of-show goes to TE Connectivity for showing a 28.8 Tb/s blade with a fiber shuffler and the new MXC connector.  The blade has 48 300Gb/s (12X25Gb/s) modules to yield 28.8 Tb/s of throughput – that’s fast!  Some people double count this bandwidth to say that it is 57.6 Tb/s of directional throughput since each module is bi-directional.  Not only did TE demonstrate the fast modules, but they showed a fiber shuffle technology with laminated sheets that shuffled over 1,000 fibers.  To top it off, they used the new MXC connector that has several advantages over the MTP connector including LC-like extraction, 16X interfaces, dust tolerance and low cost.  Expect to see more solutions based on this type of technology next year at OFC.

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 Figure 1: 28.8 Tb/s Blade demonstration by TE Connectivity

As Becky Anderson likes to sing, OFC is the most wonderful time of the year for us laser heads.  This year had some real buzz to it with all of these announcements and 12,700 people in attendance.  Fiber optics are hot again!

By Scott Kipp

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the individual(s) and should not be considered the views or positions of the Ethernet Alliance.

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Fast and Furious Demo at OFC 2014

By Scott Kipp

The Ethernet Alliance booth at OFC 2014 showcases many of the latest advances in Ethernet technology.  From 10GBASE-T to 100GbE CFP4 modules, the booth will highlight how Ethernet’s physical layer is getting faster all the time.  The unique aspect of this demo is that it shows interoperability across multiple vendors and generations of products.  The best example of this interoperability is how the Ethernet Alliance will show three generations of 100GbE modules in the CFP, CFP2 and CFP4.  The overall view of the topology is shown in Figure 1.

 

Figure 1: High Level View of Demo Network

Showing multiple generations of 100GbE is an important step towards widespread adoption of 100GbE.  The first generation of 100GbE was standardized in 2010 and is based on the CAUI-10 electrical interface that has 10 lanes of 10 Gb/s.  The second generation of 100GbE is based on CAUI-4 with 4 lanes of 25Gb/s and should complete standardization early next year.  The CFP2, which was demonstrated last year in the Ethernet Alliance booth, bridges both of these standards by supporting CAUI-10 and CAUI-4.  The newest 100GbE form factor is the CFP4 and it only supports CAUI-4 in a much smaller form factor that can support 16 100GbE ports in a single row of a 1U switch.  The demonstration will show CFP4 modules that support 100GBASE-SR4 and 100GBASE-LR4 to 10km.  With the smaller CFP4 form factors, more 100GbE ports can be placed in a switch and the cost of the ports can be reduced.

While 100GbE is the fastest currently deployed Ethernet speed, the new workhorse in the data center is 40GbE.  While 100GbE is used outside of data centers right now, 40GbE is used within the data center because of its low cost.  40GbE is often less expensive than 4 ports of 10GbE, so applications like the core of the network are switching from 10GbE to 40GbE.  The core network of the demo is running 40GbE and 40GbE NICs are also showing 40GbE connectivity.

Low cost 10GbE servers are another theme of the event.  In addition to 10GbE NICs that support up to 10 kilometers with 10GBASE-L, the demo displays 10GBASE-T that runs over CAT7 cabling to 100 meters.  The 10GBASE-T links will help lower the cost of high speed server connectivity.

In addition to the live demo and static displays in the booth, the Ethernet Alliance will also be hosting a number of panels that will discuss a number of Ethernet topics on March 11th in Theater III of San Francisco’s Moscone Center.  The topics include:

  • 100G Single Lamba Optics – 2:30pm PT. Panelists will discuss optics ability to scale to meet growing demand for larger data centers and ultra-dense 100GbE and 400GbE, as well as the potential path forward for single wavelength 100GbE optical interfaces for future network applications.
  • Snapshot on 400GE Standardization – 3:15pm PT. Panelists will explore survey topics currently under discussion within the recently formed IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) IEEE 802.3 400 Gigabyte per second (Gb/s) Ethernet study group.
  • New Standards for Ethernet Access Networks – 4:00pm PT. Panelists will examine Ethernet’s demonstrated success in the deployment of Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Networks (GEPON) and 10G-EPON subscriber access networks. Discussions will also center around new IEEE P1904.1 Service Interoperability for EPON (SIPEON) and IEEE P802.3bn EPON Protocol over Coax (EPoC) standards, and their implications for the next generation of Ethernet Access Networks.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy the show and see the latest Ethernet technologies.

By Scott Kipp

President of the Ethernet Alliance

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the individual(s) and should not be considered the views or positions of the Ethernet Alliance.

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Targeting the Data Center – 100Gb/s Per Optical Lambda

By John D'Ambrosia

There are times when I REALLY love this job.

I am so excited to announce that the Ethernet Alliance and OIDA are partnering to host a workshop targeting the development of 100 Gb/s per optical lambda for the data center on June 12 and 13.  The event will be collocated with the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) that will be held in San Jose, on June 8 – June 13, 2014.  This workshop will bring together experts and key players in the Ethernet and optics industries to discuss and explore how we can move the industry forward.

As we explore this issue, we should expect a lot of technical debates that will discuss modulation formats, coding gains, power, latency, and channel budgets and impairments.  However, at the Ethernet Alliance’s  Technology Exploration Forum 2013- The Future of Ethernet, I challenged a panel of distinguished individuals on this topic, and inquired whether there were any doubts that this 100Gb/s per lambda approach would eventually exist.  Not a single member of the panel expressed any doubts that 100GbE over a single optical lambda would eventually come to exist. 

Now, I have to admit, this issue is somewhat personal to me.  I was the chair of the IEEE 802.3 task force that developed 100GbE, as well as the chair of the current IEEE 802.3 400GbE Study Group.   I am personally invested in this conversation, but it will take the entire industry to explore and debate this topic.  How would end-users deploy it?  How will system and component vendors implement it?  And, as we look at 100GbE, 400GbE, and ultimately, Terabit Ethernet, it is clear we need a technology that will bridge across multiple speeds, not generation specific solutions that don’t grow with subsequent developments in technology.   

So, as Chairman of the Ethernet Alliance, I invite you to join the industry as we contemplate how to make the eventual a reality.  Be there on the day, when the industry takes that step forward.  You will want to be there.  And, if you would like to submit a topic for consideration, please see the event Call for Presentations, which may be found at – www.ethernetalliance.org /xxx/xxx. 

We look forward to the debate and seeing you there.

 

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the individual(s) and should not be considered the views or positions of the Ethernet Alliance.

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