Light Reading
A nonstandard optical module looks awfully compelling in the face of 100G prices, panelists say

EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue

Craig Matsumoto
100G News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
11/4/2010
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NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo Americas 2010 -- The price of 100 Gbit/s was the source of more gripes on Wednesday, as optical components got drawn into the mix.

You may recall that Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute Communications Ltd. , ranted Tuesday about the slow arrival and non-cheapness of 100Gbit/s Ethernet gear. (See EENY 2010: Carrier Wants Cheap 100GigE Now Please.)

Well, Finnie also appeared on a Wednesday panel where the entire topic was 100Gbit/s Ethernet.

This time, though, someone else started the criticisms. Brodie Gage, senior director of transport product line management for Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), mentioned that some carriers might not use standard 100Gbit/s optics at first, due to price.

"The cost and availability of those components has been a problem both for vendors and service providers," Gage said.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.3ba standard includes a 100GBase-LR4 interface, which consists of four 25Gbit/s lanes. But Gage said carriers will be more attracted to the LR10 interface, which uses 10 10Gbit/s lanes and isn't standardized.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) backed him up. "We will be nonstandard as needed," said Nick DelRegno, a principal member of the carrier's technical staff. "What we're seeing is a significant cost delta between the nonstandard LR10 and the standard LR4."

Sticking up a little bit for 100 Gbit/s, Houman Modarres, an Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) director of marketing, said, "Pricing is by far the biggest obstacle, but there's more texture to it than that."

He was making a point about total cost of ownership, but what's more memorable was that he used the metaphor of buying a puppy: What's expensive isn't the animal, but all the stuff you have to get for it.

Finnie, meanwhile, held his ground that 100Gbit/s pricing is unrealistically high, and he stuck to the price figure he'd mentioned on Tuesday.

"We all know what the price is: It's six times 10 Gbit/s," Finnie said. "I've said it to a few, and they've gotten quite glum."

DelRegno and Finnie reiterated the now familiar call that 100 Gbit/s is overdue. Link aggregation -- the binding together of 10Gbit/s lines -- just isn't efficient enough, they said. And Finnie wasn't keen on the idea of going to 40 Gbit/s. "We'd have to aggregate 40Gbit/s, so what's the point?"

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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spc_markl
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spc_markl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:37 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


Craig,


Recently, LR4s have been as much as three times the cost of LR10s.  So, while the adamant gentleman states that the standard module is "overdue," he may have a long wait on his hands.  Also, don't vendors toward the bottom of the food chain have to make a little money, too?


Mark Lutkowitz, Telecom Pragmatics

Pete Baldwin
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Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:36 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


You're right about 25G availability being a factor.  But I think there could be a good business in there for the chip guys; the signal-processing work can be applied all over the place (backplanes, e.g.).  They're working on it in earnest, I think.

metro_dave
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metro_dave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:36 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


One of the big challenges for 100G-LR4 is that is the leading adopter for 25Gbps components, this means no jumping on an existing technology that has always the case with previous optical ethernet versions (e.g. 100Base-FX used FDDI, 1GBe used FC and 10G used SONET).


Ironically its probably the only reason why there is demand for 40G Ethernet, as you already have an existing base of QSFP+ modules to tap into thanks to Infiniband.


As 100G Ethernet is only for the backbone the volume will not be too high so it may be difficult to get the the price expectations that some people have pinned there hopes on (or budgets on). More likley is that it will slow adoption which in turn affects inovation.


Everything could change though if another application like Storage or Computing starts using interfaces made from 25Gbps links, then the volume will kick which will enable lower pricing.

spc_markl
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spc_markl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:34 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


Craig,


I really think that there is a lack of appreciation for just how hard 100G is in the public network.  Heck, I remember that 10G was quite difficult -- and now we are talking about an order of magnitude higher.


Mark

metro_dave
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metro_dave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:33 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


Just to clarify (and defend my comments) - the only place you'll find LR4 (or LR10) modules in the public network is on the client side interfacing to Routers. As with 10G (and 40G) the client side is all about price and it seem many networks were expecting lower cost 100G-LR4's based on the premise that Ethernet = low cost. Until we get some volume, 25Gbps components will not meet the price expectations and I think the volume needs to come from different applications like FC or Infiniband.


However I agree completly about the the Network side as it will be 100G CP-QPSK modules. Here there are many big challenges, both photonic and electronic, and as well reported by LR most system vendors have opted for vertical integration. Investing in 100G CP-QPSK is all about strategic investment, by having the technology it allows them to win the big contracts where they can make money on selling all their other kit and services. Eventually this will change and no doubt we'll see Tunable CP-QPSK CFP modules (like we have Tunable XFP's) but that is well into the future.

spc_markl
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spc_markl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:32 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


Metro_Dave,


I certainly did not mean to speak negatively of any of your excellent comments.  I was just making a statement about the public network in general.


But, why is there always the unjustified, knee-jerk reaction in the industry that Ethernet automatically equals cheap?  Has it not always been a question of having the necessary volume?  And is it not the case that Ethernet in its totality in the network can be a fairly costly protocol concerning traffic costs?


Mark

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:30 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


 


Cheap home routers are under $100.  Have you priced 100G Network Processors?  Oh wait, its an Ethernet Switch...Have you priced 100G Ethernet Switch chips?


So, I have 2 COs that are 50 miles apart.  It seems to me that I need approximately 830 segments of Light Peak transceivers to get between them.  And then I need another 80 or so to reach the homes that are near the end of the fiber.  Wow, sounds like a great market for Light Peak Transceivers.  FiOS alone would have consumed 30M or so transceivers.


seven


 


 

popper
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popper,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:30 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


 


"Craig Matsumoto:You may recall that Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute Communications Ltd. , ranted Tuesday about the slow arrival and non-cheapness of 100Gbit/s Ethernet gear. (See EENY 2010: Carrier Wants Cheap 100GigE Now Please.)


Well, Finnie also appeared on a Wednesday panel where the entire topic was 100Gbit/s Ethernet.


This time, though, someone else started the criticisms. Brodie Gage, senior director of transport product line management for Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), mentioned that some carriers might not use standard 100Gbit/s optics at first, due to price."


sorry boys but as an outsider i call bullshit on this one, to call them "ranting" is wrong.


"spc_markl:Ethernet in its totality in the network can be a fairly costly protocol concerning traffic costs?" 


hardly, its just the usual 'max profit at all costs' mindset,wrapped in the 'what will the market(mug punter) pay', if it wasn't the case of being cheap,then the whole world's digital DVB industries ,cable,ISP's and the rest would Not be moving wholesale to Ethernet in all its forms today, probably the quickest transition from proprietary to commodity in history it seems at times.


"metro_dave:Until we get some volume, 25Gbps components will not meet the price expectations and I think the volume needs to come from different applications like FC or Infiniband."


"...this means no jumping on an existing technology that has always the case with previous optical Ethernet versions (e.g. 100Base-FX used FDDI, 1GBe used FC and 10G used SONET)."


"As 100G Ethernet is only for the backbone the volume will not be too high so it may be difficult to get the the price expectations that some people have pinned there hopes on (or budgets on). More likely is that it will slow adoption which in turn affects innovation."


seriously, its seems at times the so called "Industry" spend so much time keeping tunnel vision track of the whats and therefore's happening inside their field that they forget to look elsewhere now and again to see whats available and coming down the pipe... see below.


"Craig Matsumoto:You're right about 25G availability being a factor.  But I think there could be a good business in there for the chip guys; the signal-processing work can be applied all over the place (backplanes, e.g.).  They're working on it in earnest, I think."


"spc_markl:Recently, LR4s have been as much as three times the cost of LR10s.  So, while the adamant gentleman states that the standard module is "overdue," he may have a long wait on his hands.  Also, don't vendors toward the bottom of the food chain have to make a little money, too?"


sure, everyone likes money, especially those vendors that are not even in your game YET and still see the mass scale untapped New profit potential that's Not being filled in the high throughput markets Everywhere market now and 'coming soon'.


people are sick and tired of waiting all these years for the generic Ethernet card OEM's to make a faster than 1 gig card and router/hub/switch available for SOHO use that Never gets Made, Ethernet over Light Peak could be that speed breakthrough they are looking for and the so called edge case Industrial grade users surely will also be looking at what comes of this and placing Large orders where the two products meet.


"metro_dave:Investing in 100G CP-QPSK is all about strategic investment, by having the technology it allows them to win the big contracts where they can make money on selling all their other kit and services. Eventually this will change and no doubt we'll see Tunable CP-QPSK CFP modules (like we have Tunable XFP's) but that is well into the future."


what is it im trying to say here is not that what you all point out as wrong, its not, but your only looking at it from the past and current way things are made right now,


that old model way of thinking has more than a passing chance to massively  change and expand in the very near future.


 Did you guys miss Light Peak creeping up on you Right Now, did you miss the fact that these first 10Gig Light Peak transceiver's are super Tiny, super low power, and 2 channel in the very first consumer package ?, compare that low cost (even at current low volume run's)  2 channel transceiver to the current single channel telecom grade expensive optical transceiver in his hand.


oops heres the missing URl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izNoF1SWtSg


if you pay attention, you might notice that Intel are actively pushing it as a multi HD screen, multi Protocol transceiver, which is a another way of distracting people from the fact theres No problem running  and patching existing code for 'Ethernet over Light Peak' use Today.


their actively stating that its a 10 year gradual turnaround to get to 100Gig consumer throughput, with 10 gig product coming into the market now , and early 1Q 2011 for mass production.


it seems to me its not going to be to long for Someone to see the massive potential and put  a simple 4/10 Light Peak transceiver's and related cheap off the shelf CPU in a tiny cheap box/PCB and make simple 40/100Gig Bonded/aggregated router and all kinds of other devices to potentially undercut all pro grade kit in existence today.


 hell, some people/companies , even these so called ranting CTO's etc might even take it all to a new level if they cant get what they want to pay for at the right price, and actually have the likes of one of the Many Arm licencee's make them a super cheap even lower power mass produced multcore A8/9 SOC (based on the v7 Arm cortex A8/Neon 128bit SIMD Freescale i.MX51 or better for instance) with the right high data throughput blocks placed inside perhap's include a Tunable CP-QPSK block in there too and combine them into a single generic SOC for anyone to use on mass.


 


 

spc_markl
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spc_markl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:29 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


On the ranting thing, it was just all in good fun.  We understand that it is his job to complain about high prices.


Mark

metro_dave
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metro_dave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:19:28 PM
re: EENY 2010: 100G Complaints Continue


Popper, as you point out Lightpeak is running at 10G today so why not run Ethernet over it today? Yep I agree why not - but what will that acheive as we already have low cost 10G Ethernet, running it over Lightpeak won't make it any cheaper.


Infact this is why Google suggested using an alternative 100Base-LR10 (10x10Gbps CWDM) rather than the standard 100GBase-LR4 (4x25Gps CWDM), 10x10G is cheaper, see the Lightreading article Brookseven pointed to.


You also mention that Intel say in 10 years they'll have 100G Lightpeak - but the debate is to find a cost effective solution for 100G today.


What I would get excited about is when Lightpeak (or anything else) starts running at 25Gbps and above, this could be a trigger. Until then I think we have some form of chasm where 10G components get ever cheaper as they are used in ever increasing numbers leaving the higher speed components like 25G/40G etc at a perceived high price.

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