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Microsoft, Google et al form club to push 25/50 Gbps Ethernet

New consortium plans faster Ethernet delivered faster than rival standard groups

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A new consortium of vendors is firing up to give 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps Ethernet a push, in an effort to get the kind of performance demanded in cloud data centres.

While lab demonstrations have shown that Ethernet will one day be able to reach 400 Gbps, you need standards to turn speed into systems, and that's what Microsoft, Mellanox, Arista Networks, Broadcom and Google want to achieve with their 25G Ethernet Consortium.

The consortium is putting forward “a specification optimized to allow data center networks to run over a 25 or 50 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Ethernet link protocol”, the group's statement says. They want to define “an industry-standard, interoperable Ethernet specification that boosts the performance and slashes the interconnect cost per Gbps between the server Network Interface Controller (NIC) and Top-of-Rack (ToR) switch”.

There's a 25 Gbps single-lane spec and a 50 Gbps dual-lane link protocol, and will be made available royalty-free to vendors that join the consortium.

The spec covers physical and MAC layer behaviours, including “virtual lane alignment, autonegotiation, and forward error correction characteristics,” the group says.

They anticipate compliant implementations should be able to roll out over the next 12 to 18 months. ®

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