New WP: Terabit Ethernet: How?
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The new White Paper dives into the technical details. Called "Terabit Ethernet - How", it covers how Ethernet speeds beyond 400G and 800G require changes to the Ethernet physical layer as well as the implications for first movers in this pre-IEEE standardization phase.
Faster electrical lane speeds, new modulation schemes and the subsequent need for improved Forward Error Correction (FEC) mechanisms are all part of making faster Ethernet speeds possible. Compact transceiver module form factors that can take advantage of these advances and keep power consumption to a minimum are also a key part of making Terabit Ethernet viable.
Compact transceiver module form factors also address another driver for higher speed solutions beyond speed and power consumption, namely space. As data consumption grows, data center space is at a premium. Viable Terabit Ethernet solutions must provide high-speed and power-efficiency, but also enable high port density maximizing the available front panel space in data center switching solutions.
To enable 400GE, 800GE and higher-speed Terabit Ethernet solutions, changes need to be made to the Ethernet physical layer. To date, Ethernet test solutions have mostly needed to focus on the data link layer, but now, extensive testing also needs to be performed on the physical layer. Ethernet testing professionals need to understand how the Ethernet physical layer operates and how this affects the data link layer.
Because changes need to be made to the Ethernet physical layer and because solutions are being delivered before standardization (IEEE) is fully in place, ensuring interoperability becomes a major hurdle. Not just because of the lack of standards, but also because solutions will be operating at the performance edges of current technology capabilities. Trade-offs will need to be made and solutions will be more sensitive to errors. Testing the robustness of Terabit Ethernet solutions in the face of potential errors will become more important.