Network group announces spec for long distance 100G interface

If things aren’t fast enough in your data centre, a group of network equipment makers are on the trail of giving it a swift kick.

Calling themselves the CWDM4 MSA consortium (short for Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexed 4x25G Multi-Source Agreement), they’ve been working since March to create a common specification for 100G optical interfaces that addresses data communication links up to 2 kilometers in the data centre.

So-called hyperscale data centres would need an interface that could push 100 Gpbs Ethernet that distance. The IEEE has standards for reaching 100 metres and 10 km, but nothing in between.

On Tuesday the consortium announced version 1.0 of a proposed new specification.

The architecture employs four lanes of 25 Gb/s using Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) technology to transport 100G optical traffic across duplex single mode fiber (SMF). The specification is designed to take advantage of Forward Error Correction (FEC) on the host port, in accordance with IEEE 802.3bj KR4 RS FEC standard. 

The spec was developed through a broad review process, including industry experts from more than 40 companies that include system OEMs, optical component vendors, chip vendors, and fiber cabling manufacturers, the group said in a news release.

Founding members of the consortium are optoelectronics maker Avago Technologies, Finisar, JDS Uniphase, Oclaro, and Sumitomo Electric. Those recently joining include Brocade Communications, Juniper Networks, Kaiam, Hitachi Metals, Mitsubishi Electric, Neophotonics, Oplink, Skorpios Technologies, and SiFotonics.

There is no word on when the new spec might be finalized and used commercially.





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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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