June 13, 2008 -- Ixia, a provider of IP performance test systems, announced that it will demonstrate an initial implementation of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) line-rate traffic generation and analysis at NXTcomm in Las Vegas. The proof-of-concept demonstration includes what the company claims is the first implementation of the multilane distribution (MLD) architecture, or the new 100-GbE and 40-GbE physical coding sublayer (PCS) layer approved as the baseline proposal last month by the IEEE 802.3ba task force.
According to Ixia, MLD enables network providers to bond multiple 10-GbE or higher-speed lanes into a single logical 100-GbE or 40-GbE link. Currently, the highest Ethernet line rate commonly available over a single copper cable or optical fiber wavelength is 10 Gbit/sec. MLD provides a means of "striping" a 100-Gbit.sec flow into multiple "virtual" lanes, each with its own alignment markers.
"MLD is a crucial enabling technology that will allow 100-GbE links to be carried over available fiber, now and in the foreseeable future," comments Errol Ginsberg, founder and chief innovation officer of Ixia. "We felt it was imperative that we provide this essential technology early in the standards cycle; this was made possible by Ixia's early involvement in the IEEE 100-GbE /40-GbE standards development effort. Our implementation proves that MLD is a viable architecture that can be implemented with today's technology."
In July 2006, the IEEE 802.3 formed a Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) to define the objectives for the standards. In December 2007, the HSSG formally became the IEEE 802.3ba task force, with the goal of creating standards for implementing 100-Gbit/sec and 40-Gbit/sec data rates over optical fiber and copper cables. Ixia has been working in the HSSG and 802.3ba task force from its inception and is committed to supporting efforts to reach an industry-wide standard. The Ixia demonstration will showcase the operation and testing of a 100-GbE link based on the current state of IEEE standardization efforts.
"Driven by growing video traffic and more powerful server architectures, bandwidth requirements are growing for both the computing and networking applications, and the next generation of Ethernet will define 40-Gbit/sec and 100-Gbit/sec to address these needs," remarks John D'Ambrosia, IEEE P802.3ba task force chair, and senior research scientist at Force10 Networks. "Ixia's commitment to creating a high performance testing environment for these higher speeds of Ethernet will enable vendors to deliver more reliable equipment and increase the early adoption of 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet technology."
"Network equipment manufacturers are responding to the need for more bandwidth and are already working on pre-standard 100-GbE products. Therefore, it's vital that they be able to test their equipment before it is deployed in data centers," adds Atul Bhatnagar, Ixia's president and CEO. "By demonstrating our ability to generate and analyze 100-GbE traffic, we're not only helping to advance the technology, but also reinforcing our testing leadership."
Ixia maintains that the growth of converged, multiplay network services and rapid advances in computer technology and network architecture are causing bandwidth bottlenecks; this has convinced network operators, large Internet service providers, and data center managers of the urgent need for higher data speeds, i.e. 100-GbE for aggregation and core networking applications, and 40-GbE for server and storage applications.