IEEE forms study group to address 25G data centers

July 31, 2014
New IEEE 802.3 group to study standardizing single-lane 25 Gb/s Ethernet interconnect technologies to provide greater server bandwidth to cloud-scale data centers.

IEEE recently announced the formation of its IEEE 802.3 25 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group, charged with exploring market opportunities and needs for a single-lane 25 Gb/s speed for server interconnects for Ethernet.

“The application of single-lane 25 Gb/s signaling technologies provides Ethernet with a solution set that can be reused by those companies building the data centers of tomorrow," comments Mark Nowell, chair of the IEEE 802.3 25 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group and senior director, Cisco Systems. "The new study group expects to lay the groundwork for a new Media Access Control (MAC) rate that will enable cost-optimized single-lane solutions that will increase network deployment efficiency."

IEEE contends that, as companies building data centers desire IEEE 802.3 standards-based interoperable solutions that will enable and extend a multi-vendor eco-system, he reuse of serial lane 25 Gb/s signaling technology -- developed to support 100 Gb/s Ethernet -- enables cost-optimized deployments in newly constructed data centers. This is especially true for the companies that will need server interconnects that support 10 Gb/s Ethernet and beyond, notes IEEE.

“The heavy lifting in developing and standardizing 25 Gb/s signaling technologies has been done as part of the development of 100 Gb/s Ethernet," adds Nowell. "These technologies can be reused to enable a single-lane 25 Gb/s Ethernet solution set for server interconnects for these future data centers.”

The ratification of IEEE 802.3ba-2010 “Standard for Information Technology—Local and Metropolitan Networks for 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Operation” introduced 4 x 25 Gb/s signaling as a fundamental building block for 100 Gb/s Ethernet. Since then, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group has expanded the use of this basic rate of signaling technology.

The IEEE 802.3bj-2014 “Standard for Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for 100 Gb/s Operation Over Backplanes and Copper Cables”, based on 4 x 25 Gb/s electrical signaling, defines 100 Gb/s Ethernet Operation over backplanes and copper twin-axial cables. While currently in progress, the IEEE P802.3bm 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Fiber Optic Task Force is drafting a standard that will define 4 x 25 Gb/s operation for signal traces for chip-to-chip and chip-to-module applications, as well as for 25 Gb/s operation over four parallel multi-mode fibers.

“Manufacturers and suppliers require standards-based networking to enable and extend the industry’s multi-vendor eco-system,” comments David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and distinguished engineer with HP Networking. “This study group will provide the opportunity to explore the possible development of a single-lane 25 Gb/s Ethernet standard supporting those application spaces needing cost-optimized performance beyond 10 Gb/s Ethernet for large scale deployments.”

The IEEE 802.3 25 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group is seeking interested participants for the development of standards. For more information, visit the study group's website, ieee802.org/3/25GSG. For more information on the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group, visit standards.ieee.org/develop/wg/WG802.3.

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