OFC2018 – Ethernet Alliance’s Next Ethernet Era Tour-De-Force

By John D'Ambrosia

Everyone will be talking about 400 Gigabit Ethernet (400GbE) at this year’s OFC, but it is a journey that began five years ago for the Ethernet community.    This trek culminated in December of 2017, as the IEEE ratified the 400GbE standard, otherwise known as IEEE Std. 802.3bs™-2017.   This standard, using PAM4 signaling, introduced new electrical interfaces, based on 50 Gb/s electrical signaling rates, as well as single-mode fiber physical layer specifications that leveraged and 50 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s optical signaling rates.

While no one would argue with the importance of the standardization process, one should appreciate it is just the first of several steps to wide-scale industry deployments.  And when that solution has Ethernet in its name – people assume and expect multi-vendor interoperability, a testimonial to the quality of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards. With that said, the industry recognizes that it takes hard work and investment to enable the demonstration of multi-vendor interoperability.  This is where the Ethernet Alliance steps in, providing resources for multi-vendor plugfests, as well as public interoperability demonstrations, such as our demonstration at OFC 2018.

At OFC 2018 the Ethernet Alliance (Booth 2648) will bring together seventeen of its members in a tour-de-force of Ethernet technology.  Members participating include Amphenol, Anritsu Company, Arista Networks, Inc. Cisco Systems, Commscope, EXFO, Finisar; Huawei Technologies, Ixia, Juniper Networks; Molex, Nexans; Source Photonics, Spirent Communications; TE Connectivity; Teledyne LeCroy, and Xilinx.    Booth demonstrations will highlight everything from copper to optical interconnects at rates of 10GbE to 400GbE, as well as a live 400GbE network, that will span to various Ethernet Alliance member booths, as well as including a Flex Ethernet (FlexE) demonstration.  Additionally, the Ethernet Alliance will provide 400 GbE connections to the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) for their 400GbE FlexE demonstration. This Next Ethernet Era showcase has something for every networking engineer.

This OFC 2018 demonstration illustrates the innovations that can happen when you have the whole of the Ethernet ecosystem fully committed to bringing tomorrow’s networks to life today.

This participation, also, reflects the state of readiness of the entire Ethernet ecosystem, as the industry looks to deploy the Next Ethernet Era of solutions!