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At least five different types of optical interconnects are in the works for tomorrow’s 100 Gbit/second Ethernet networks. That’s way too many, said Bechtolsheim, noting it took 10GE a decade to get to a mainstream SFP+ link even though it started with fewer options.
“It was amazing how painful it was to get to a standard form factor,” he said.
The good news is Luxtera and at least two other startups are working on silicon photonics they expect to be ready for market in 2014, Bechtolsheim told EE Times
. The on-package components will support the speed, cost and distance needed to drive the transition to 100G, he said.
In between, a 40GE generation is coming and already has a QSFP package defined for mainstream use.