Moving to 100 Gbit/second Ethernet in 2011 and Trying for Terabit/second Ethernet in 2013

EEtimes reports engineers are gearing up to deliver in 2011 chips that can handle serial data streams running at 25 Gbits/second to drive next-generation 100 and 400 Gbit/second networks. But they say it’s still a mystery how—or if—they can deliver follow-on components for the terabit networks today’s Internet data centers are already demanding.

Google and others have said they will need Terabit Ethernet products as early as 2013.

That’s because today’s big Internet data centers use three or more tiers of networks to aggregate and link traffic from warehouses of standard PC servers. Today’s servers typically use Gbit Ethernet on their motherboards, driving demand for 10 Gbit links to aggregate traffic from seven-foot racks of servers and Terabit Ethernet to link multiple rows of racks.

Despite the hurdles, companies are inking 25 Gbit/s serdes into their road maps. One chip maker aims to deliver a component with 25G serdes in 2011 using 28nm technology; another hopes to meet a similar target with a 40nm process

Despite the challenges, tomorrow’s 25G components need to consume no more than 1.5 times the power of today’s 10G parts.

The Ethernet community appears to be solidly behind the OIF draft specs. D’Ambrosia showed a slate of six new IEEE 100G Ethernet specs that could save cost and power if they migrated to new 4 x 25G configurations, though he stopped short of announcing a call for interest in such standards.

A representative from Brocade told OIF members the Fibre Channel sector could move to 16 Gbit/s links as soon as 2011, although most backplanes are still running at 3-6 Gbits/s. A 16G Fibre Channel standard could be complete by June and work on a 32G standard has started.