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100G Ethernet moves forward

Posted: 11 Oct 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Ethernet? interconnects? signalling?

Ethernet vendors are preparing to demonstrate 100Gbit/s Ethernet at the Supercomputing 2010 show this November. At the same time, engineers are already working on 25Gbit/s signaling technology for the second-generation of 100G Ethernet products.

Ethernet vendors staged a closed door test of their 40Gbit and 100Gbit systems on September 13, according to a spokeswoman for the Ethernet Alliance. Sixteen vendors conducted 135 tests that proved 99 percent successful at that meeting where only one cable assembly failed, she said.

The efforts show products based on the IEEE 802.3ba standard are coming to market. First generation systems and chips are based on ten lanes of 10GbE.

Meanwhile, the Optical Internetworking Forum is working on 25Gbit/s and 28Gbit/s signaling standards. The work is expected to drive the next generation 100G Ethernet chips and systems which will use just four lanes instead of ten, saving both power and space.

The OIF kicked off work early this year on its very short reach (VSR) specification, a 28G chip-to-optics link that will help OEMs pack more optical modules into their systems.

The group still needs to define the loss parameters or distance for VSR. However, it noted that a single connector will be included that can only be used in conjunction with retimer chips.

The spec "is still in an early stage with a baseline document in the works," said Elizabeth Donnay, Cisco systems engineer and OIF technical committee member, during an Ethernet Alliance meeting.

Besides use in 100G Ethernet, a separate effort to define a 32Gbit/s Fibre Channel spec likely will adopt the OIF's 28G signaling work. Infiniband and other interconnects are also eying the OIF work closely.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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