& cplSiteName &

Internet2, ESnet Want Their 100-Gig

Craig Matsumoto

It's not just a test: ESnet and Internet2 want live 100-Gbit/s Ethernet interfaces by 2010, and they've enlisted vendors to help them do it.

The two research networks, along with Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), and Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), announced their project today at the SC08 supercomputing conference. (See Coalition to Tackle 100 GigE.)

"We want to see a technology that can eventually support a single 100-Gbit/s flow," says Rob Vietzke, Internet2's executive director of network services.

And this isn't just a project to test out the upcoming Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.3ba standard for 100-Gbit/s Ethernet. "We're much more interested in seeing the interoperability in a real-world network, like a Level 3 POP [point of presence]," Vietzke says.

For Juniper, the Internet2 buildout will be a kind of rehearsal. The company hasn't brought out a 100-Gbit/s interface for its boxes yet. The company sees the ESnet/Internet2 buildout as a chance to firm up a production-ready interface for the T1600 core routers. "We don't want to build a one-time demo," says Luc Ceuppens, senior director of marketing for Juniper's service-provider side.

Juniper is also taking the opportunity to stress that the T1600 can handle 100 Gbit/s per slot right now, as opposed to the 400 Gbit/s per slot claimed for the upcoming Cisco ASR 9000 router. (See Cisco Pumps Up the Edge.)

Infinera, on the other hand, has already introduced a 100-Gbit/s interface for its trials with Internet2 and, more recently, XO. (See Infinera Demos 100GigE and 100-Gig Demo.) But a spokesman stresses that Infinera hasn't given a timeframe for making this into a commercial product. "We wouldn't announce a product this far in advance," he says.

Internet2 might be eyeing a 100-Gbit/s serial interface, but such a thing isn't yet available. For starters, Juniper and Infinera will be using commercially available pieces to build an interface with 10 lanes each carrying 10-Gbit/s traffic. That's "the only piece of the IEEE standard that is basically done" anyway, Ceuppens says.

That interface requires 10 fibers, which get bundled together by an MTP connector so that a single cable comes out of the router or WDM box to connect to neighboring equipment -- but it's still 10 fibers in each direction, for a total of 20.

A 4x25 interface is more promising. It would consist of four 25-Gbit/s wavelengths multiplexed onto one fiber -- meaning you get two fibers per connection, rather than 20. Moreover, that fiber would be single-mode fiber, which is usable over longer distances than the multimode fiber used in the 10x10 interface. But that part of IEEE 803.ba isn't completed yet; moreover, the 25-Gbit/s optics aren't ready.

Still, a 10x10 interface will suffice for now, and it's going to be in demand even though more elegant interfaces are coming later. "There's enough pent-up demand on the research side, and also with some commercial customers, for 100-Gbit/s Ethernet to bridge the time," Ceuppens says.

Demand at Internet2 and ESnet isn't the same as what telecom carriers would experience, though. "Commercial networks are used to seeing tens of thousands of small flows. We're used to seeing a few dozen very large flows," Vietzke says, noting that an individual researcher's work can fill up a 10-Gbit/s connection these days.

"If you've got three or four folks who are doing 10-Gbit/s flows or 8-Gbit/s flows, those don't stripe across 10 Gbit/s like thousands of small flows do," he says.

Seeing this kind of demand escalating, ESnet and Internet2 decided to press their vendors to get to 100 Gbit/s more quickly, with Internet2 taking the lead on getting them together.

"We thought it would be a challenge to the vendor community," Vietzke says. Instead, the companies decided to formalize a pact to develop and test 100 Gbit/s Ethernet together -- there's a signed memorandum of understanding and everything, Ceuppens notes.

"It's pretty exciting to see this kind of momentum. This is what 40 Gbit/s was lacking a couple of years ago," Ceuppens says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:26:39 PM
re: Internet2, ESnet Want Their 100-Gig
Talk is cheap. These vendors need cash in order to fund 100G development. Without a viable economic model for either the telcos or their equipment vendors, no funding will be available for this work.

Perhaps the Obama admin will stump up some federal R&D $ to get things going. Otherwise, forget it. We will wait for the Japanese or Chinese to do the work for us.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Ngena's global 'network of networks' solves a problem that the telecom vendors promised us would never exist. That doesn't mean its new service isn't a really good idea.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Dell CTO: Public Cloud Is 'Way More Expensive Than Buying From Us'
Mitch Wagner, Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading, 3/19/2018
Eurobites: Cambridge Analytica Feels the Heat
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/20/2018
IBM Faces Age Discrimination Accusations
Mitch Wagner, Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading, 3/22/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed