Question the near-term need for 400G, if you like, or its long-term value in a world where 1 Tbit/s seems doable. But the Light Reading community has its 400G fans, and they came out to support the technology in our recent poll on the need for 400G. (See Do We Need 400G?)
As of Friday, March 21, more than 32% of the more than 650 LR community members who took the poll sided with the opinion that 400G will be needed soon to deal with capacity issues. Yet there is still some indication that 400G's future is up for debate. Nearly 28% of respondents said 1 Tbit/s would be the better choice as the industry looks beyond its current deployed base of 100G.
Also, almost 24% said that, though 400G might be the correct next step for some networks, it will not be widely deployed. Meanwhile, if there is anything the community agrees on in this poll, it's that 100G, which has seen such wide deployment in the last year or so, is simply not enough to soothe ongoing capacity concerns.
There certainly has been a lot of activity around 400G already. Vendors, standards groups, and even some network operators have been busy since last year developing 400G products, trials, and business cases. (See Huawei Pressures Its 400G Router Rivals, OIF Plans to Define 400G, Ciena Taking 400G Link to SC13, and SaskTel Trials 400G With Alcatel-Lucent.)
Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin recently questioned the need for "beyond 100G" technologies in the near term. He argued that many network operators completed a 10x bandwidth upgrade not long ago from 10G to 100G, and that the rate of Internet traffic growth has been slowing in recent years. (See Going Beyond 100G? Not So Fast….)
Perhaps some in the LR community are just trying to get Sterling to eat his words, but even though 400G was favored in this poll, the voting was close enough all around that we would have to agree this hot-button issue is far from being completely decided.
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading