A new IEEE group has been formed to explore the successors to today’s emerging 40 and 100 Gbit/second versions of Ethernet. Dubbed the “802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc group,” the team is gathering data from a broad range of sources now and plans to submit a report by June 2012.
Two camps have proposed very different futures for Ethernet. Companies with big datacenters such as Google and Facebook are calling for Terabit Ethernet as early as 2013 to handle the growth of mobile and video data, while component companies have proposed a more realistic half-step to 400 Gbit/s.
You are really seeing a division between suppliers and customers,” said John D’Ambrosia who chairs the new ad hoc group. “Customers are going to have to go back and sharpen their pencils because we are running into the limits of physics,” said D’Ambrosia who is also a member of the CTO’s office at Force10 Networks. Component designers claim the Terabit goal is unrealistic. The industry is currently focused on a relatively challenging move from 10 to 25 Gbit/s serial rates, and bundling more than about 16 lanes into one network is not practical, D’Ambrosia said.