100G Ethernet

100G Watch: 40G Strikes Back

The news around 100-Gbit/s developments has understandably slowed in the wake of OFC/NFOEC, but a few new developments have passed our way lately.

  • First, the anti-100-Gbit/s news: Force10 Networks Inc. is coming out saying that 40 Gbit/s will be more useful to enterprises than 100 Gbit/s.

    "Our plan is to push the concept of, and to support a pull of, 40-Gbit/s Ethernet being a better option than 100-Gbit/s Ethernet for data centers," says Kevin Wade, Force10 senior director of marketing. (See Force10 Pushes 40G.)

    The reason is simply the cost -- "over $30,000 for just the optical module alone," Wade says. "That's not for a port, just a module."

    Were it not for the cost, plenty of data centers would be grabbing for 100-Gbit/s Ethernet, Wade says. Their bandwidth needs are more pressing" than the carriers', he says. "They were the earliest adopters of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, sooner than it was being adopted by core routers."

    But 40-Gbit/s optics have had longer to come down in price, in the form of OC768 Sonet or 40-Gbit/s Infiniband.

    How about some products to back up this 40-Gbit/s push? Force10 has been describing its products as being ready for 40- or 100-Gbit/s Ethernet, and a new line cards will accompany the 40-Gbit/s preaching. They won't arrive until after mid-year though, and Force10 isn't giving up any details.

  • Altera Corp. (Nasdaq: ALTR) is saying its Stratix V FPGAs will be the vehicle for its 28-Gbit/s transceiver ("transceiver" meaning an on-chip transmitter and receiver, not an optical part). It looks like the first 28-Gbit/s transceiver to hit the common market in any form.

    That's an important step for 100-Gbit/s transport, because a 100-Gbit/s stream with Forward Error Correction (FEC) could be split among four of those transceivers, as opposed to using 10 transceivers that run at 12.5 Gbit/s.

    The 28-Gbit/s serializer/deserializer will run at 200 mW, which Altera says is pretty spiffy. "It's not uncommon to see a 3-Gbit/s channel consume 150 mW," says Luanne Schirrmeister, senior director of component product marketing.

    What makes the 28-Gbit/s transceiver tick is, coincidentally, a 28nm manufacturing process. Altera announced in January that the chip would be going to 28nm and made good on that with Monday's announcement. (See Altera Unveils 28nm Stratex V.)

  • For short-haul 100-Gbit/s transmission -- distances of 40 kilometers or less -- Nokia Networks says it's completed tests showing the use of one optical transceiver rather than four.

    The result, announced last week, was the culmination of a European Union-funded project called Hecto, short for "high-speed electro-optical components for integrated transmitter and receiver in optical communications." (We'll stick with "Hecto.") The project started in November 2006.

    NSN collaborated with research institutes and optical components vendors on Hecto. Pieces developed included a driver amplifier and multiplexer on the transmitter side, and for the receiver, a demultiplexer, integrated clock-and-data recovery, and a monolithically integrated photodetector and amplifier.

    Elsewhere in 100-Gbit/s-related news:

    — Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

  • Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:38:54 PM
    re: 100G Watch: 40G Strikes Back

    Force10's marketing behind the 40G message is that the company is in the Pole Position to help datacenters take advantage of 40G.  To emphasize that, in the PowerPoints at least, they used a screen capture of that classic 1980s video game, Pole Position.

    Which leads to this quote from Kevin Wade: "Freshman year in college, I must have dropped -- I kid you not -- $100 on that game."

    I shouldn't make fun... I can't claim triple digits but I do recall spending a lot of time trying to get good at Gravitar...

    Kevin Wade 12/5/2012 | 4:38:53 PM
    re: 100G Watch: 40G Strikes Back Thanks Craig. I'm not quite the gamer I was in my college days (back when Pole Position and Super Mario Bros were brand new), but I'm definitely up for a classic video game "throwdown" if the opportunity ever presents itself.
    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:38:53 PM
    re: 100G Watch: 40G Strikes Back Gravitar! Yes! One of the best quarter magnets ever.. I didn't get any good at that game until Atari released a CD emulator of some of their classic coin-ops. But your post does bring back fond memories of pumping in quarters as I rocked a mullet and some awesome duds from Chess King. JB
    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:38:52 PM
    re: 100G Watch: 40G Strikes Back Thanks for the reminder... I forgot about MAME. I, I mean a FRIEND of mine, had that running on my, I mean HIS, old desktop. I seem to recall that it was a big no-no to ask the MAME message boards where one could find the actual game ROMs... leaving me, I mean OTHER PEOPLE, to surf around in search of one. I, I mean a FRIEND of mine, eventually found a site operated out of Mexico that turned out to be a coin-op goldmine. Or so I remember, I mean, or so I WAS TOLD. ;) JB
    Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:38:52 PM
    re: 100G Watch: 40G Strikes Back

    Kevin, You don't happen to remember your high score, do you?  (It wouldn't mean much to me anyway. I was wretched at Pole Position.)

    Jeff, re: Gravitar... for a while there was an emulator called MAME that let you play these classic games on a PC.  Not knock-offs, it would run the actual software taken off the actual game boards.  MAME still exists but a big crackdown caused them to stop offering the game emulators (without which MAME is kind of Lame).  Anyway, I got a couple years of Gravitar practice out of that.  Totally worth the time, or so i keep telling myself.

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