Ixia Boasts 400GbE Demo First

Ixia is proclaiming a 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) technology first, with the test system specialist claiming to have aggregated eight 56 Gbit/s channels using PAM-4 modulation.

Silicon vendors began introducing 56Gbit/s SerDes (serializer/deserializer) devices in 2016: Among them were Broadcom, Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) and venture-backed Credo Semiconductor.

The 56G SerDes was developed to be a basic building block for 50G, 100G, 200G, 400G and terabit connectivity that can provide greater efficiencies and meet the demands of ever-increasing data traffic volumes, with the first applications being short-range connections in data centers.

Simultaneously, the industry is shifting from NRZ modulation to PAM-4, which offers superior performance by several performance metrics when used in specific situations, such as data center interconnect.

Ixia is claiming the first successful public demonstration of 400G Ethernet using the new 56G connections in an 8-channel configuration along with the new modulation technique. That specific 400G implementation is defined as 400GAUI-8 under the IEEE standard IEEE802.3bs.

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Ixia did not identify which vendors contributed technology to its demo. The company said only that the demonstration was delivered to key members of the 400 GbE ecosystem, including a variety of end users, as well as a number of equipment, chip and optics manufacturers.

Ixia currently supports and collaborates with two multisource agreement (MSA) development groups working on 400G technology. One is the double-density quad small-form-factor pluggable (QSFP-DD) MSA, and the other is the Octal Small Form Factor Pluggable (OSFP) MSA.

The QSFP-DD MSA Group is developing a high-speed, double-density small-form-factor pluggable interface for networking equipment. The OSFP MSA is defining a new 400G transceiver module that will support the full range of 400G optics technologies, from datacenter to metro reach.

Ixia said last December that it was the first to have shipped a 400G test solution, identifying the customer only as a major worldwide carrier. Ixia and Viavi have demonstrated the interoperability of their respective 400G test solutions, with the demo meant as an indicator that standards-based 400G technology is progressing.

Ixia is also currently generating headlines for other reasons, as speculation over its ownership continues to circulate. (See Ixia's for Sale. Who Might Buy?)

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

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