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100G Watch: The Ramp-Up Continues

Craig Matsumoto
9/28/2011

It's been a busy couple of weeks for various aspects of 100Gbit/s networking, and not all because of The ECOC Exhibition. We start on the business side.

  • Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. will begin shipping coherent 100Gbit/s interfaces with its Flashwave 9500 in December, Marketing Development Manager Randy Eisenach tells Light Reading. The technology is in customer field trials now.

    Like many systems vendors in the first coherent 100Gbit/s wave, Fujitsu developed its own optical modules. But that doesn't mean the company is shutting out components vendors. "Fujitsu likes to have two sources for all our critical 100Gbit/s components," Eisenach says.

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) announced its latest 100Gbit/s win for the 1830 Photonic Service Switch: It's been chosen by T-Mobile Czech Republic a.s. in Prague to backhaul 3G, as announced Monday. (See T-Mobile Czechs Out 100G with AlcaLu.)

    The 1830 has been on a roll since July, with a couple of customer announcements and a trial. (See Euronews: Dual-Mode LTE Network Goes Live, AlcaLu Wins 100G Deal in Hong Kong, and Mobily Trials 100G With AlcaLu.)

  • On the chip front, Xelerated Inc. announced volume production of its HX family of processors. The company calls them "100Gbit/s network processors," but that's referring to aggregate capacity. Chips targeting single-stream 100Gbit/s -- as in 100Gbit/s Ethernet or OTU4 ports -- aren't shipping in production just yet, says Per Lembre, director of product marketing. (See Xelerated Ships HX Family.)

    Still, the arrival of the HX family is a key step for Xelerated to make up ground against EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH), one of its few direct competitors. EZchip has taken most of the network-processor limelight lately, thanks in no small part to products ramping at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR)

  • Last week, Inphi Corp. claimed to be the first vendor to sample 100Gbit/s chips built from complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) -- i.e., from normal silicon rather than silicon germanium (SiGe). These include the crucial gearbox chip that translates between 10Gbit/s and 25Gbit/s speeds, which are the lane speeds on either end of a 100Gbit/s CFP module. (See Inphi Issues 100GE PHY Parts.)

    AppliedMicro Inc. is the other competitor here, having announced its own CMOS gearbox earlier this year. As Jag Bolaria, an analyst with The Linley Group , noted, these CMOS chips could reduce 100Gbit/s module costs considerably compared with the SiGe chips coming out of Semtech Corp. (Nasdaq: SMTC).

  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) officially launched a 100Gbit/s Backplane and Copper Cable task force, giving it the designation 802.3bj. Note how mature we're being by not cracking any jokes about the name.

    The task force will be working on backplane and short-connection standards for future high-speed work, whether that's at 400 Gbit/s or 1 Tbit/s. As usual for high-speed Ethernet, the group is being guided by John D'Ambrosia, who's now a Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) employee due to its acquisition of Force10.

    Other 100Gbit/s mentions lately:

    — Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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