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Next-Generation Ethernet: From 100 Gbps to 400 Gbps and Beyond

  • ID: 2720897
  • Report
  • November 2013
  • Region: Global
  • CIR
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With 40 GigE commonplace and 100 GigE no longer bleeding edge, optical networking is ready to embark on a quest for 400 GigE; perhaps an interim step on the way to Terabit Ethernet.

The author has been tracking the commercial development of Ethernet since 1991, when the now-ubiquitous GigE technology was the avant-garde. The author has subsequently analyzed every generation of Ethernet all the way to 100 Gbps. So we understand user needs, technology requirements and deployment patterns. And the author is especially adept at identifying the commercial opportunities flowing from the latest developments in optical Ethernet.

Based on this more than two decades of experience, the author presents in this report a view on how 400 GigE will be commercialized, how the 400 GigE business case will be made, and where the opportunities are to be found for carriers, equipment makers and component makers.

This report will make compelling reading for optical networking firms at the equipment, subsystem and component levels of the Ethernet value chain. The report contains a quantitative forecast over the next decade for 400 GigE under several different scenarios, along with an assessment of strategies of the firms that the author believes will be the key players in this space.

In this report, the author presents its view on where 400 GigE opportunities will be found for component makers, equipment firms and carriers. It focuses on demand from medium-to-large data centers, but also discusses how 400 GigE will play in metro networks and in WANs. Since 400 GigE will be a significant technological challenge, this report also discusses how the latest VCSEL, FEC and modulation technology will enable the new 400 GigE standard. Also covered are the likely module MSAs that will be used for 400 GigE.

The report also provides a strategic assessment of firms that will be the key players in 400 GigE space. Firms discussed in this report include: Arista, Avago, Brocade, Cisco, Extreme Networks, Facebook, Finisar, Furukawa, Google, IBM, JDSU, Juniper, Molex, Netflix, Sumitomo, TE Connectivity, ULM Photonics, and VI Systems.
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Executive Summary
E.1 Goals for 400 GigE
E.2 The Business Case for 400 GigE: Applications Drivers
E.3 Summary of 400 GigE Opportunities
E.4 Firms to Watch in the 400 GigE Space
E.5 Emerging Technology Issues
E.6 Factors Pushing for 400 Gbps/Terabits in Carrier Networks
E.7 400 GigE: A Speculation on Revenue Generation

Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background to this Report
1.1.1 Big Bandwidth Users are Never Satisfied!
1.1.2 Demand Patterns for 400 GigE Will be Different than for 100 GigE
1.1.3 Technology Opportunities in 400 GigE
1.2 Objective and Scope of this Report
1.3 Methodology and Information Sources for this Report
1.3.1 Forecasting Methodology
1.4 Plan of this Report

Chapter Two: Evolution of 400 GigE Technology
2.1 IEEE 802.3
2.1.1 Communities of Interest in High-Speed 802.3 Standards Setting
2.1.2 Could 400 Gbps Ethernet be like Fast Ethernet?
2.1.3 Similarities Between the Evolution of 100 GigE and 400 GigE
2.1.4 New Data Rate Ecosystems and Environments
2.1.5 More thoughts on Parallel and Serial Communications
2.1.6 PHYs and MSAs
2.1.7 Green Ethernet and Higher-Speed Ethernets
2.1.8 IEEE 400 Gigabit Ethernet Study Group: Progress So Far
2.1.9 Formats and MSAs for 400 GigE
2.1.10 400 GigE and the Rise of PAM
2.1.11 CDFP Hot-Pluggable MSA
2.1.12 Copper in 400 GigE
2.1.13 400 GigE as an Emerging Opportunity for SMF
2.1.14 The Role of FEC
2.1.15 Summary of Technological Requirements for 400 GigE
2.2 Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF)
2.2.1 The OIF 100 G Project
2.2.2 OIF Working Towards 400 Gbps
2.3 OTN
2.4 Impact on 400 GigE of Developments in InfiniBand, PCI Express and Fibre Channel
2.4.1 InfiniBand
2.4.2 Fibre Channel
2.4.3 PCI Express
2.5 A Note on Power Consumption
2.6 A Note on VCSELs
2.6.1 Evolution of VCSEL Technology
2.7 Key Points from this Chapter

Chapter Three: Content-Related Drivers for 400 GigE Demand
3.1 Applications, Architectures and Technology in the Current Evolution of 400 GigE
3.1.1 Architectural Issues and Technology Adoption Patterns
3.1.2 Demand for Bandwidth from Applications and How this is Changing
3.2 Video and the Need for 400 GigE
3.2.1 Streaming Video
3.2.2 Production Quality Video
3.3 Big Data as a Driver for 400 GigE
3.3.1 Computing and Data Networking Requirements for Big Data
3.4 Thoughts on Clouds and Networks
3.5 Role of Content Delivery Networks
3.5.1 Bandwidth Considerations for CDNs
3.6 A Note on Next-Generation Automobile Networks
3.7 Key Points from this Chapter

Chapter Four: Potential Markets and Market Uncertainties for 400 GigE
4.1 Considerations for a 400 GigE Market Analysis
4.1.1 Bandwidth Demand Expanding at Double-Digit Rates
4.1.2 More Organizations Run Data Centers that Need 400 Gbps
4.1.3 Data Centers are Getting Larger
4.1.4 Number of CPUs and Racks Set to Increase Dramatically
4.2 Factors Pushing for 400 Gbps/Terabits in Carrier Networks
4.2.1 400 GigE and the Metro Ethernet Market
4.2.2 PONs as a Driver for 400 GigE
4.3 Speculation on the Value of the 400 Gigabit Ethernet Market
4.3.1 Sources of Uncertainty in the 400 GigE
4.3.2 The Cost Issue for 400 GigE
4.3.3 A Very Tentative Ten-Year Forecast of the 400 GigE Market
4.4 Key Points from this Chapter

Acronyms and Abbreviations Used in this Report
About the Author

List of Exhibits
Exhibit E-1: Goals of the 400 Gbps Ethernet Study Group
Exhibit E-2: Summary of Key Applications Drivers for 400 GigE Networks
Exhibit E-3: Five Key Drivers for 400 GigE
Exhibit E-4: Main 400 GigE Opportunities
Exhibit E-5: Ten Companies to Watch in the Evolution of 400 GigE
Exhibit 2-1: Evolution of the Ethernet Standards
Exhibit 2-2: Goals of the 400 Gbps Ethernet Study Group
Exhibit 2-3: Technological Requirements for 400 GigE
Exhibit 2-4: Non-802.3 Standards Impacting the Evolution of 400 Gigabit Ethernet
Exhibit 2-5: VCSEL Data Rate Evolution
Exhibit 3-1: Summary of Key Applications Drivers for 400 GigE Networks
Exhibit 4-1: A Very Tentative Forecast of the 400 Gigabit Ethernet Market
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New Report Examines the Commercial Future of 400-Gigabit Ethernet

The report assesses the business and deployment models emerging for 400 GigE and provides the first tentative revenue and port forecasts for its deployment. In the report the author notes that the world’s largest data centers have already begun go deploy 400 Gbps aggregations and backbones and efforts put forth by the IEEE towards standardizing 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) represents major progress towards creating a 400 Gbps networking market.

From the report:

The author sees 400 GigE as being sold into the same medium-to-large data centers as 100 GigE is today, but believes that the addressable market for 400 GigE will be considerably larger than that initially targeted by 100 GigE. The size of the average data center has grown exponentially since then, with new applications – especially “big data” – pushing this growth forward.

While the 100 GigE effort saw squabbling over interim standards, the 400 GigE standard has been designed to prevent another Ethernet war. However, there is still plenty of room for squabbles especially over reach and module formats

400 GigE will be the first IEEE standard that will be almost wholly fiber (copper will be used only in chip-to-chip and chip-to-module interconnects). The arrival of 400 GigE will be a big incentive for much greater use of single-mode fiber in the data center and for the arrival of the all-SMF data center. The author believes that these trends will create new opportunities for manufacturers of fiber optic connectors and active optic cables.

400 GigE will be the end of the long era in which Ethernet is based around 10 Gbps channels and NRZ modulation. The future will be 100 Gbps channels and PAM modulation. This will create major new challenges for ASIC and optical device makers, especially with regard to creating higher levels of integration
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- Arista
- Avago
- Brocade
- Cisco
- Extreme Networks
- Facebook
- Finisar
- Furukawa
- Google
- Juniper
- Molex
- Netflix
- Sumitomo
- TE Connectivity
- ULM Photonics
- VI Systems
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown