OFC/NFOEC – Real Technology, Real Deployment

By Ethernet Alliance



John D’Ambrosia, Ethernet Alliance Chairman, Chief Ethernet Evangelist, CTO Office, Dell

On June 13, 2002, IEEE Std 802.3ae-2002TM, otherwise known as the 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) standard, was ratified. Shortly after the ratification of this standard, the industry saw a new generation of networking and the explosion of the Gigabit Ethernet market.  These networking technologies helped fuel the likes of companies such as Google and Facebook, and the mass deployment of Gigabit Ethernet servers arguably set the bar for what the Ethernet industry identifies as a successful standard.

Since that time, multiple standards targeting various 10GbE physical layer specifications like 10GBASE-CX4, 10GBASE-KX4, 10GBASE-KR, 10GBASE-LRM, and 10GBASE-T, have been introduced. Then in June 2010 IEEE Std 802.3ba-2010TM introduced 40GbE and 100GbE to the industry. However, the next wave of networking fueled by wide scale deployment of 10GbE servers has not happened.

This is about to change, as Intel’s Romley server platform with 10G LOM is set to drive wide-scale adoption of 10GbE. Yet, this expectation and the relative newness of 40GbE and 100GbE have the market asking whether 40GbE and 100GbE is set to go. Is the technology real? Is it interoperable?

Answering these questions is the part of the mission of the Ethernet Alliance, which has organized various interoperability plugfests and demonstrations since 2010. One such example is the interoperability plugfest held in June 2011, which successfully demonstrated the interoperability between various 40GbE and 100GbE systems and technologies. Other examples include the 10GbE and 40GbE Interoperability demonstrations at SuperComputing 2010 and 2011. All of these prove that 40GbE and 100GbE technologies are indeed viable.

The industry is anticipating that in 2012, the wide-scale deployment of servers based on 10GbE will start but ultimately, this deployment will be dependent upon 40GbE and 100GbE, which will be used to aggregate 10GbE-based servers. The Ethernet Alliance understands the importance of 40GbE and 100GbE as it approaches OFC/NFOEC.  The industry needs to understand that 40GbE and 100GbE are not just paper specifications, but are real technologies for real deployment today.  Visit the Ethernet Alliance in OFC/NFOEC booth 724 and see for yourself.


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