We want to hear your comments on what's the next big step for Ethernet--400 Gbits/second or a terabit rate.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. In multiple industry meetings this year—including one in Silicon Valley earlier this week—engineers debated the next big step for Ethernet. We want to hear what you think.
A network architect from Facebook said his expanding data center needs multiple 100 Gbit/second Ethernet links today. He called for starting a terabit Ethernet effort immediately, a suggestion quickly seconded by a senior technologist from Deutsche Telekom at this week's meeting hosted by the Ethernet Alliance.
Standards experts note it takes as much as a year just to gain the consensus needed to launch a new IEEE effort. The standards work itself can easily take another two years.
The IEEE 802.3ba standard for 40/100G Ethernet has not yet been finalized. A lot of pieces of that technology still require significant work, according to presentations at the Alliance meeting.
Nevertheless, engineers are keen to pave a path to the future. Chris Cole of Finisar suggested a step-wise evolution to 400 Gbits/s Ethernet as a practical step forward that would not require new and complex modulation schemes needed for a terabit spec. He even suggested the 400G module design based on 25G serial links below.
A proposed architecture for 400G Ethernet
Click on image to enlarge.
"The value of a block diagram is it gets people thinking that we could do better," said Cole whose full presentation is included below.