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Datacentres join 100G fray

Posted: 02 Apr 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:datacentre switches  100G  optics 

Arista Networks and Intel led the formation of the CRL4 100G Alliance, which proposes a standard for 100Gbit/s links for datacentre switches in response to the rising data surge. This is but one of three proposals submitted in the previous weeks as efforts to accelerate shipment of 100G systems this year intensify.

The CRL4 100G Alliance aims to specify a 100G coarse wavelength division multiplexing (CWDM) transceiver in a QSFP package that measures 8.5 x 18 x 72 mm. It will dissipate 3.5 W max and support distances up to 2 km using two singlemode optical fibres. The group will take industry feedback on a preliminary spec, aiming for a final spec in May.

The proposal comes one day after companies including Avago, Finisar, JDSU, and Oclaro proposed a similar spec called CWDM4. At the OFC event in March, Mellanox announced with partners its Open Optics specification based on dense WDM technology.

The three specs all aim to serve datacentre switches hungry for bandwidth, filling a gap between short- and long-range 100G specs today. Separately, Cisco and Avago have developed a proprietary 40G link some expect to scale to 100G.

Datacentres join 100G fray

Today's high-speed optical modules come in at least six different flavours.

"I think the real story is how broken the optics industry must appear from the outside with everyone tripping over each other to claim they have the 100G duplex standard of choice," said the chief executive of one optics vendor who asked not to be named. "I suspect the plethora of choice of different ways to do the same thing will lead to user confusion and a market delay."

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