100G Ethernet

100G Watch: Brocade Goes Big

This week's cluster of 100Gbit/s news starts with what might be the largest deployment yet.

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) is supplying 56 100Gbit/s Ethernet ports at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HMMI), a big research facility with a Howard Hughes-sized budget. The win continues the Brocade/Foundry Networks tradition of getting picked for abnormally heavy networks, the flagship case being the Amsterdam Internet Exchange B.V. (AMS-IX) . (See Brocade Lands 100GigE Win and Dutch Exchange Sticks With Brocade.)

    HMMI had outgrown its 10Gbit/s infrastructure. Each wiring closet now uses two link-aggregated 100Gbit/s ports, the equivalent of one 200Gbit/s pipe.

    We're starting to hear about the medical industry needing low-latency services, but for these campus connections, that wasn't a factor. "They were looking more at pure Layer 2, high-performance services," says Daniel Williams, a Brocade director of product marketing.

  • Cortina Systems Inc. is ready with what it says are the first merchant 100Gbit/s transport and aggregation chips, launched Monday. The CS6050 family targets 100Gbit/s Optical Transport Network (OTN) and Ethernet. (See Cortina Launches 100G ASSP.)

    The chips also include a new, optional FEC algorithm that Cortina is calling High Gain FEC, offering a 9.4 dB gain when adding 7 percent overhead to the traffic payload. (A 10 dB gain with 20 percent overhead is possible, too.)

    The CS6050s have been sampling since October. Volume production is expected in the first half of 2012.

  • Data point No. 1 from Ethernet Expo Americas, held last week: "I have to have OTN, have to have it. There's no other way to put all these kinds of traffic onto a single wave," said Shakar Narayanaswamy, vice president of network architecture for Reliance Communications Ltd. . He may have worded it that way partly in response to the OTN discussion sparked earlier. (See Is OTN Overkill? and OTN Inches Toward the Metro.)

  • Data point No. 2: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has a customer, a European service provider, that's been running link aggregation with four 100Gbit/s lines for a couple of months now, said Houman Modarres, an AlcaLu director of product marketing.

    Four ports is the highest 100Gbit/s link aggregation we've heard claimed so far. If someone's bettered that, we'd be curious to know.

    Other recent 100Gbit/s happenings:

    — Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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