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OIF Aims to Enable More Flexible Ethernet

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FREMONT, Calif. -- As members of the Optical Internetworking Forum gathered last month for their first quarterly meeting of 2015, the organization launched a new project to enable flexible Ethernet by providing a toolkit to expand the utility of existing and future Ethernet interfaces. The new project, labeled FlexEthernet, provides a way for Ethernet equipment to more efficiently utilize optical link bandwidth. FlexEthernet toolkit provides channelization, bonding and sub-rate functionality to connect one or more Ethernet MACs using standard Ethernet PMDs between equipment, either directly or through transport links.

Building upon the OIF’s multi-link gearbox (MLG) work that addresses multilane configuration, FlexEthernet provides support for speeds in between and beyond the fixed speeds currently defined, driving a wider set of applications needed by data centers and carriers.

“Ethernet connections between routers or transport gear needs to be flexible by providing incremental increases in bandwidth,” said Nathan Tracy of TE Connectivity and the OIF’s Technical Committee chair. “The proposed FlexEthernet toolkit bridges the gap between previous, current and next-gen rates.

At the quarterly meeting, OIF members prepared to approve the OIF’s SDN Framework, a technical white paper identifying components and interfaces requiring standardization to provide a cohesive SDN app development framework designed around Web 2.0 technologies. Members also made progress on developing implementation agreements for SDN APIs addressing Topology, Service Request, Connection Request and Path Computation.

“The OIF is ahead of the industry in identifying specific work that needs to be done to bring SDN to fruition,” said Jonathan Sadler, Coriant and the OIF’s Technical Committee vice chair. “The API documents are the outcome of the prototype SDN demonstration that took place late last year. We have motivated, enthusiastic members working hard to finalize these APIs for service provider deployment.”

Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF)

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User Rank: Light Sabre
2/13/2015 | 5:48:42 AM
What's the point?
What is the point to implement Ethernet speeds other than those standardised in IEEE 802.3? To provide non-standard physical connectivity?

If this is not the goal, what makes FlexEthernet of, say, 24Gbps different from 40Gbps PHY with 24Gbps policing on ingress+egress?

And what do different interface speeds have in common with SDN??? (Well nothing in my view, but some answers would be in place.)

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