The Ethernet Alliance recently released details of a 25-Gbit/sec technical feasibility event it held in June at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory. In the study, 25GbE cabling and networking equipment were used “to complete hundreds of test cases, which included link configuration, in-link configuration, target bit error rate (BER) confidence, transmitter output waveform, and channel characterization,” the Ethernet Alliance said.
The Alliance added, “With 25-Gbit/sec technologies being driven in part by hyperscale data center and cloud services market needs, the productive event drew industry-wide support and participation. The event produced promising results, with a high percentage of tests exceeding expected requirements of the proposed IEEE 25-Gbit/sec standard, and achieving a success rate of greater than 86 percent for all test cases performed. Data captured during the event was also provided to the IEEE 802.3by 25-Gbit/sec Ethernet Task Force to aid in its refinement of IEEE’s proposed 25 Gigabit Ethernet specification.”
Held on June 22, 2015, the technical feasibility event took place during the early stages of the standard’s development, the Ethernet Alliance noted, when the commonality of product maturity would not typically be expected.
"Interoperability doesn't just happen ... [It] requires investment from the Ethernet Alliance, technology developers, and the industry as a whole." -Scott Kipp, President, Ethernet Alliance
Ethernet Alliance president Scott Kipp said plainly, “Interoperability doesn’t just happen.” He elaborated: “Ensuring the multi-vendor interoperability everyone is seeking requires investment from the Ethernet Alliance, technology developers, and the industry as a whole. We enable product testing against specifications and between multiple vendors. During our recent 40/100G plugfest, we were testing equipment developed throughout the last five years. However, 25GbE is still at a nascent stage of the standardization process. The array of prestandard equipment and cables tested during our technical feasibility event showed an unanticipated level of maturity. It’s a strong expression of the Ethernet ecosystem’s continued commitment to interoperability and a sign of the industry’s desire to capitalize on the benefits that 25-Gbit/sec signaling offers.”
Mark Nowell, chair of the IEEE P802.3by 25Gbit/sec Ethernet Task Force, and senior director of engineering with Cisco Systems, commented, “Work on the IEEE P802.3by 25-Gbit/sec standard is progressing quickly, but having this data available has been highly beneficial to the development of the 25 Gigabit Ethernet standard. The positive results generated at the Ethernet Alliance 25-Gbit/sec feasibility event were very encouraging. I would like to thank the Ethernet Alliance for making this event a reality and bringing this data forward.”
Jeff Lapak, associate director of the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab, said, “The UNH-IOL was pleased to host and be a part of the Ethernet alliance’s recent plugfest, which yielded such a high success rate for prestandard technology. The lab has been testing Ethernet interoperability for over 25 years and this technology demonstration really showcases that the Ethernet industry as a whole has the commitment to, and understands how important, interoperability is to the ecosystem.”
Lapak and the Ethernet Alliance’s chairman, John D’Ambrosia, co-authored a paper titled “Commitment to Ethernet Interoperability,” in which they summarized June’s plugfest and technical feasibility event. Within that paper they explain, “In the case of 25GbE, the signaling technology is mature—having been developed as a building block for enabling 100GbE networking. The task is now to undertake all of the due diligence to make it interoperable across multiple vendors. With the 25GbE standard not yet in the working-group ballot stage, it is impressive to see this style of testing so early in the development process, which says a lot about industry’s commitment to interoperability.”
Participants in the 25GbE cabling and networking equipment technical feasibility event included Amphenol Corporation; Arista Networks, Inc.; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Dell, Inc.; FCI; Hitachi, Ltd.; Intel Corporation; Ixia; Luxshare-ICT; Marvell Technology Group Ltd.; Mellanox Technologies Ltd.; Molex Incorporated; QLogic Corporation; Spirent Communications Plc.; TE Connectivity Ltd.; Xilinx, Inc.