Ethernet zooms to 100 Gigabit speeds

Oh so cool!

Ethernet zooms to 100 Gigabit speeds: “

How fast can data travel over Ethernet? If you answered 10 Gigabit per second, then you would be off by about 90 gigabits per second. Infinera, a San Jose, Calif.-based start-up, along with University of California, Santa Cruz, Internet2 and Level3 Communications, today demonstrated a 100 gigabit/second Ethernet connection that could carry data over a 4000 kilometer fiber network. The trial took place at the Super Computing Show in Tampa, Florida.

The experimental system was set up between Tampa, Florida and Houston, Texas, and back again. A 100 GbE signal was spliced into ten 10 Gb/s streams using an Infinera-proposed specification for 100GbE across multiple links. The splicing of the signal is based on a packet-reordering algorithm developed at the University of California at Santa Cruz. This algorithm preserves packet order even as individual flows are striped across multiple wavelengths.

A single Xilinx FPGA implements this packet numbering scheme and electrically transmits all ten signals to ten of Finisar’s 10 Gb/s XFP optical transceivers which in turn convert the signals to optics. These signals are then transmitted to an Infinera DTN DWDM system.

These packets which have a special sequence numbering are then reassembled by the receiver. In short, Infinera has bonded 10 parallel 10 Gb/s channels into one logical flow while maintaining packet ordering at the receiver. (Services that combine multiple wavelengths to offer a single service are referred to as super-lambda services.)

The trial shows that seriously high speed services can be offered over existing 10 Gb/s transport networks. ‘Gigabit Ethernet will be a critical technology to accommodate bandwidth growth, and this demonstration shows that we have the capability to implement this as a super-lambda service over today’s networks,’ said Infinera co-founder and CTO Drew Perkins.

It was about 14 months ago we wrote about the 10 GB/s network that connected the University of California, San Diego and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center over a dedicated optical path. We chatted with Perkins earlier today and he said that the trial today shows that you can build scalable systems that can achieve higher speeds. ‘The way bandwidth demand is growing right now, we need 100 Gb/second now,’ he says. ‘The network is going to keep growing.’

The IEEE has set up a Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) group and is looking for specifications for higher speed Ethernet. The 10 GbE took about five years to become a standard, but the working group might have to hurry this time around. Proliferation of higher speed consumer connections, and emergence of video over IP will make 100 GbE a must have for most carriers.
While the 100 GbE technology is unlikely to show up in your neighborhood anytime soon, the trial is an important step in addressing the ever growing demand for bandwidth. The technologies like the one demonstrated by infinera and its partners will first show up in long haul networks. The largest IP backbones are currently using multiple 10 Gb/s links between core sites.

The online video explosion is going to tax the current fiber and network infrastructure, and will fill up the networks rather quickly, officials at Level 3 explained, when we met with them last week at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

(Via GigaOM.)

A day in the life of fiber

A day in the life of fiber: “

There are still a lot of people who play up concerns that fiber builds in dense urban areas are inherently massively disruptive to traffic and normal life. Check out these cool photos from Amsterdam, which seem to convey a slightly less apocalyptic reality – a section of pavement is dug up, fiber buried, and the pavement left clean and ready for restoration, all within a single day.

While you’re at it, there are a number of other fiber themed photos in Flickr – it seems like a subject which excites people, imagine that…

(Via EuroTelcoblog.)

For Broadcom, Future Is Wireless

For Broadcom, Future Is Wireless: “

No Lou Reed, no YouTube talk, no rockstar startups — oh right, I didn’t go to Web 2.0 yesterday, I spent the afternoon in a dark nook of the Santa Clara Convention center listening to engineers talk about silicon. Yep, it was Broadcom’s big analyst day, where the company’s executives show off demos of the latest chip technology and give presentations about how they are going to make investors a lot of money.

Actually Broadcom is one of the best positioned communication chip companies in the market (options scandal aside), leading in some categories like WiFi and bluetooth silicon, and increasingly concentrating on mobile handsets and consumer electronics chips. The company powers the Nintendo Wii’s bluetooth controller and wireless connection, and provides a multimedia chip for Apple’s video iPod. Analysts might whisper about the iPhone or a WiFi-enabled iPod, but if anyone knows the truth it’s this room full of Broadcom folks.


At the analyst day CEO Scott McGregor said the company is pushing even more into the mobile industry, where it has been trying to compete against the likes Qualcomm with only moderate success. Every company executive also said that Broadcom is also trying to win over more consumer electronics companies, like MP3 players and video players, though I didn’t see any sneak-peeks at future iPods or Zunes at the show. The company did announce its first chip solution for application processing, which runs multimedia in mobile phones and consumer electronics. It also announced a chip solution that combines both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD for media players, and said SanDisk is using Broadcom’s multimedia and power management chips for its V-Mate Video Memory Card Recorder.

On the demo floor the company showed off its mobile future, with a HSDPA chip solution (which isn’t on the market yet), as well as its mobile TV designs which will support all of the mobile TV standards (even MediaFLO.) At the show the company announced that its ‘M-Stream’ mobile noise-canceling software will debut on the Treo 680 — improving the signals of existing cell phone calls is a hot area right now.

The wireless connectivity group is the fastest growing Broadcom business, and includes wireless technologies like bluetooth, WiFi and wireless VoIP. Mike Hurlston, Vice President for the Wi-Fi Group showed off the next-generation ‘draft-N’ WiFi products and said the company recently added HP as its fourth laptop manufacturer partner, an agreement it will announce soon. He also demoed the latest Skype-phone made by Buffalo announced earlier this week. The company is working on other wireless technologies like Near Field Communication, GPS solutions, UWB and even made a mention of mobile WiMAX in power point materials.

It’s also true that the company has been dragged into the whole option accounting scandal. At the conference the acting CFO Bruce Kiddoo spent a good deal of time assuring attendees that the financial issues would be over soon. That plus depending on the sometimes cyclical semiconductor industry, means the stock can be pretty volatile.

Another Broadcom setback is its endless war with Qualcomm over who is infringing on what patents. While Broadcom recently won a small battle according to a judge with the International Trade Commission, I can’t help but think that the negotiations might be rather distracting. The CEO McGregor said that the fight is a long term investment for the company and its competitors, and Henry Samueli, the founder, CTO and Chairman of the Board, said the battles don’t affect day to day business. I asked Samueli if he was happy with the ITC judge’s latest decision that Qualcomm infringed on one patent but dismissed the other two claims. He said this is only the beginning.

(Via GigaOM.)