Dutch Exchange Rolling Its Own 100G
Modules for the 100GBase-ER standard, which covers spans of 40km, should be available by the end of the year, but AMS-IX needs something next quarter, says Martin Pels, an AMS-IX senior network engineer. Pels spoke Thursday on a panel at a Technology Exploration Forum, an ongoing series of events put on by The Ethernet Alliance for discussion of next-generation requirements.
As an Internet exchange, AMS-IX needs to move enormous amounts of traffic, making it an early adopter for technologies such as 100Gbit/s transport. (See AMS-IX Sticks With Brocade.)
And it's using a lot of 100Gbit/s links, relatively speaking. AMS-IX's plans for 2012 involve adding two switches to its network core (bringing it to a total of six) and, judging from a diagram Pels showed, at least a couple dozed 100Gbit/s links in various places around the network.
The AMS-IX kludge starts with a 100GBase-LR4 module -- a type that's commercially available but is only meant for 10km spans. In front of that will be added a discrete semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) or praseodymium-doped fiber amplifier (PDFA), which is awesome because we get to mention praseodymium for the first time ever on Light Reading.
For the latter case, AMS-IX would just buy a PDFA commercially; they're available in 1-rack-unit boxes, Pels tells Light Reading. The SOA is a custom chip that a vendor is developing for AMS-IX.
It's possible the AMS-IX module won't be used for very long -- but then again, it's possible the first ER4 modules will be expensive enough that AMS-IX will stick with its own module for a while longer, Pels says.
And who knows -- maybe other customers will want to try AMS-IX's module. That's kind of how the 10x10 multisource agreement for 100Gbit/s modules got started. (Not really, but kind of...)
— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading