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


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.

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

Based on this more than two decades of experience, CIR presents in this report our 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 CIR believes will be the key players in this space.

Table of Contents

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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