100G Ethernet

LINX Wants Its 100G

4:50 PM -- Want to hear another provider talking about needing 100 Gbit/s right away? Sure you do.

The London Internet Exchange Ltd. (LINX) wants to put in 100-Gbit/s Ethernet connections and will start link-aggregating them once they're "cost-effective -- and for us, cost-effective is probably earlier" than for most, says Richard Yule, LINX sales and marketing manager.

In the absence of 100-Gbit/s Ethernet, LINX has settled for aggregating 10-Gbit/s Ethernet links -- that is, combining them so that the network considers them a single pipe. Sixteen of them make up a virtual 160-Gbit/s Ethernet connection, and that's the maximum LINX has been able to do so far.

Today, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) announced denser blades for its MRX line of routers, providing 16 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports per slot. (The blades carry eight ports each and fit in half-slots.) That makes possible the aggregation of 32 ports into a 320-Gbit/s pipe, something Foundry Networks talked about in 2008, before getting bought by Brocade. (See Brocade Ups 10GE Density and Foundry LAGs Ahead.)

But even that just puts things off for a few months, Yule says.

The question with any of these urgent-need cases is the volume. LINX's 160-Gbit/s aggregated links are used at three core locations, while the rest of the network is OK with aggregating four 10-Gbit/s Ethernet links.

But where it's needed, it's really needed. Peak traffic rates on the LINX network exceed 600 Gbit/s. "That's not a peak that lasts for a few seconds; it stays up there for much of the day," Yule says. "We're going to have to go to 100 Gbit/s in quite a major way in the near future."

Brocade has a niche with some of these big exchanges. (See Dutch Exchange Sticks With Brocade and Brocade Claims Top IXPs.) So, company officials say they'll be putting a focus on 100-Gbit/s Ethernet, and it sounds as if they'll give it more urgency than 40 Gbit/s.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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