Paving the way to mainstream 100G

Guideposts along the road to 100 Gigabit Ethernet technology are illuminated by chip developer Inphi.

Guideposts along the road to 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) technology are illuminated by an evergreen white paper from chip developer Inphi. Ratified in June 2010 by the IEEE Standards Association Standards Board, IEEE Std 802.3ba-2010 defines 100G Ethernet’s electrical, logical and physical characteristics to include options for transmitting Ethernet frames at 100 gigabits per second over multiple 10 Gbps or 25 Gbps lanes via single-mode fiber, multi-mode fiber, or copper cabling.

See also: Re-use old fiber for 100G?

For fiber media, the standard defines 100GBASE-SR10, an implementation which uses 100G optical transceivers based on 10 optical lanes at 10 Gbps, as well as the 100GBASE-LR4/ER4 standards which are based on four 25 Gbps optical lanes. Due to the complexity of a module capable of supporting 10 fiber interfaces, it is expected that 4x25G solutions will become the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and commercially-viable solutions as the technology and the market environment matures. The first instantiation of a 4x25G optical fiber-based 100G solution used the CFP form factor, which is discussed by the paper.

Related: CFP2 ecosystem for 40G/100G data center is assembled

Inphi illustrates how, as server-to-switch links migrate from 1 GbE to 10 GbE, the switches and router links that they connect are being forced to move from 10 GbE to 100 GbE. The white paper explains how the convergence of these trends is driving a ripple of capacity up-sizing throughout networks and data centers.

View/Download the white paper.

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