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.