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Ethernet boffins get ready to kick off 400G development

Networking's unkillable gorilla to get faster again in 2016 or 2017

After a year of discussion and setting of baseline specifications, the hard work of creating 400G bps Ethernet is about to begin.

This month, according to the acting chair of the IEEE's 400G Ethernet study group, Dell's John D'Ambrosia, the group will be seeking approval of the project documentation it's been developing since the April 2013 launch of the project.

The study group stated in 2013 that the 400G standard “will address, but is not limited to, aggregation and high-bandwidth interconnect in these key application areas: cloud-scale data centres, internet exchanges, co-location services, wireless infrastructure, service provider and operator networks, and video distribution infrastructure.”

The development will take a few years, with 400G bps product not anticipated until the 2016-2017 timeframe.

Writing at EE Times, D'Ambrosia says “400GbE for full-duplex operation only will be defined where the Ethernet frame format using the beloved Ethernet media access controller will be preserved.”

Energy efficiency is also a key part of the development work, he notes.

The preparatory work by the study group lays out four possible physical interfaces for 400GbE: a multimode fibre spec running at up to 100 metres, and single mode specs for 500 metres, 2 km and 10km. It's possible that the three single mode fibre specs could be merged into a single document. ®

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