Sunday, November 26, 2006

The big effort for 100 Gig Ethernet

Ever since the IEEE formally announced its commitment to a standard for 100 Gig Ethernet in its previous plenary at Dallas, there has been a remarkable news and discussion forum coverage on this topic. That is great marketing for 100 Gig Ethernet.

So what will be the key for this technology. I believe that the price/performance ratio is the key. It is interesting that 100 GigE does not mean 100 Gbps on one wavelength (or line). For now all it means is 100 Gbps available on an end-to-end Ethernet connection. This could be in combination of 10 channels of 10 Gbps. Optical fiber systems have supported such bandwidths for years, a typical fiber can carry 160 DWDM wavelengths at OC-192 (10 Gbps). But this is confined to backbone networks where hundreds of connections have been multiplexed. The challenge is in delivering this bandwidth to an adapter.

And even if this bandwidth is delivered, will the edge device (end system) the adapter is connected to be able to make use of such high bandwidths. This has already been a major hurdle for 10 Gig adapters.

So it will be interesting to see how this technology develops and matures.

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