100G Ethernet to the masses


But, yes, we are hearing people say we need it now, even though a final spec is at least three to four years away.

Do you foresee a lot of pre-standard technology on the market? Some companies are already talking about 100G. I think the reality is that there are a lot of different technologies that are going to be needed to fully deploy 100G Ethernet. You'll need new optics, backplanes and chip technologies. 10G backplanes won't be sufficient, so you need to make a leap there.

In regard to 100G Ethernet pre-standard, [IT managers] are very nervous about going with pre-standard technology. They'll do it if they have to, but it will be hesitantly. And they will surely keep their eyes on what's happening in the standards bodies.

You mentioned that companies are using link aggregation to get to higher speeds today. Why is that a problem? Link aggregation scales up to a limit and then it becomes an issue. Depending on who you to talk to, you'll hear that two, four or eight links can be aggregated together before you have management and troubleshooting issues. Also, those cables take up precious real estate, and you have power and cooling considerations. Using up those ports for link aggregation also creates lost revenue opportunities, because any port that's tied up is not bringing in revenue. There are a lot of issues with scaling, too, and it's not easy to foretell cost estimates with link aggregation.

There is a lot of talk that the YouTube phenomenon is among the key drivers for a 100G Ethernet standard. Are there other issues out there that a 100G Ethernet spec will solve? YouTube is interesting -- it's experiencing 20 percent traffic growth per month and is constantly adding 10G links to support this growth. However, YouTube is not the only reason for 100G. The study group has had to prove that there is a need by addressing five criteria: broad market potential, compatibility, technical feasibility, economic feasibility and distinct identity. This has to be a unique and necessary solution.