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Metro Ethernet Drives 100GMetro Ethernet Drives 100G

User demand for 100G networking is driving the industry

August 13, 2013

3 Min Read
Metro Ethernet Drives 100G

Support for 100G is growing rapidly, driven by the huge demand for high-speed connectivity. Cloud services and distributed networks require huge bandwidth, and metro Ethernet equipment is now the leading application for 100G ports, significantly ahead of long-haul DWDM systems and core routers.

This is one of many key findings in the latest issue of Heavy Reading Components Insider, "100G Components User Survey: 2014 Market Outlook," based on an exclusive worldwide survey that drew responses from 69 professionals representing more than 50 different equipment vendors and system manufacturers worldwide. The report covers the use of 100G ports, including Ethernet, DWDM, OTN and InfiniBand. The report provides unique insight into which types of 100G optical modules and physical layer devices (PHY) are used by telecom equipment manufacturers, now and in the future, and how they rate each vendor. The report includes information on how telecom equipment vendors choose 100G optical modules and the use of standard products, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The report also covers the expected timescale for the use of 400G.

For many networks, 10 Gbit/s is no longer enough. Multiple 10Gbit/s and 40Gbit/s connections have provided a short-term solution, but now the market is demanding 100Gbit/s connections. It is five years since the IEEE 802.3ba task force was formed to develop specifications for 40G/100G Ethernet, and component suppliers have now introduced the PHY devices and optical modules to support the widespread deployment of 100 Gbit/s within the enterprise and data center, across long-haul links and within metro networks.

There are seven types of 100G Ethernet ports and seven 100G optical module form factors already available or in development. Low power consumption and small form factors are important characteristics for the PHY devices used on the line card and inside the optical modules. PHY devices can be standard products, ASICs or FPGAs. 100G PHY solutions are available from more than 15 vendors, including Altera, Broadcom, Cortina, Marvell, Mellanox, PMC-Sierra and Xilinx.

The seven different types of 100G optical module are spread across enterprise and data center, long-haul and metro networks. Over the next few years, there will be a shift from first-generation optical modules with integrated gearboxes and retimers to second- and third-generation optical modules, with these functions moved onto the line card. 100G optical modules are available from almost 20 vendors including Avago, Cisco, Finisar, Fujitsu, JDSU, Molex, NeoPhotonics, Oclaro and Reflex Photonics. Key parameters for telecom equipment manufacturers when selecting optical modules include cost, performance, power consumption, the range of module options available and vendor ranking.

The industry is just starting to discuss possible solutions for 400G. The IEEE process is starting with the formation of a study group to address 400Gbit/s Ethernet interconnect. The results of the survey covered in the report suggests there is already significant interest in 400G, with 30 percent expecting to ship 400G ports by mid-2015.

The demand for high-speed connectivity and metro Ethernet is having a significant impact on the rollout of 100G. Carriers and equipment manufacturers must make sure they are working with PHY device vendors and optical module suppliers that can successfully move from first-generation optical modules to the more integrated second- and third-generation modules that are the key to deploying high-density and cost-effective network solutions for the data center and enterprise, long-haul and metro environments.

— Simon Stanley, Analyst, Heavy Reading Components Insider

This report, "100G Components User Survey: 2014 Market Outlook," is available for $1,595. For more information, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/commchip.

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