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400G/Terabit

OIF Pushing 400G Specs Forward

The OIF today said it has started work on a common electrical interface for full-size backplane panels for 400G networks, one sign that those standards are marching ahead. The organization also established baseline specifications on many of its other 56Gbit/s generation electrical interfaces that are part of the 400G roadmap. (See OIF Adds Long Reach to 400G Roadmap.)

"This was an important body of activity we handled in our last meeting," says Nathan Tracy, technical committee chair for the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) . The baseline specs cover medium reach (MR) interfaces for chip-to-chip and midrange backplane, very short reach (VSR) interfaces for chip-to-module, extra short reach (XSR) for chip to nearby optics engine, and ultra short reach (USR) for 2.5D/3D applications.


For the latest on optical networking trends, visit Light Reading's 400G content channel.


The latest spec work will cover long-range (LR) interfaces for the full-size backplane and is being undertaken based on feedback from OIF members, Tracy says. The thinking is that the time is right for the full suite of interfaces for 400G.

All of this work, known within OIF as the 56G project, ultimately feeds into the IEEE and its specifications. It's important to time the OIF's work so that the industry gets the benefit of interoperability, Tracy notes, and timing can be a challenge.

"This is an iterative process, and even once it starts, other data points will pop up that have to be considered -- and then we weigh that against where we were at the starting point," Tracy says. "We are trying to make a market and deliver interoperability as an industry, and think about how we are going to deliver an optimal solution that we can all go to market with."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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