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100 gigabit Ethernet and beyond [Commentary]

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During the course of the study group phase of the IEEE P802.3ba project, a number of individuals with data center backgrounds got up and expressed interest in 100GbE, based on the aggregation of Gigabit Ethernet servers in computer clusters. Meanwhile, network engineers in data centers look ahead to deployment of server clusters built on 10GbE-based servers, with cross-sectional bandwidths of fabrics reaching into multi-terabits of capacity. Similar needs have also been discussed by those in the carrier community and Internet exchanges. So while technical feasibility, which is one of the five criteria on which new projects are judged within the IEEE, is a key issue, another is broad market potential. As noted, the forecasted need in 2015 is for Terabit Ethernet. Therefore, while 400GbE is technically feasible, the question is will there be customer interest in it? This will be the key question that will be discussed within the industry in the months ahead. The next rates for networks will ultimately be discussed and decided within standards bodies such as the IEEE and ITU-T.

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 3 )