Component vendors benefit from 100GbE

Development efforts geared toward moving beyond current line rates will affect the networking value chain much sooner than expected and in a number of different ways, reveals a new report from CIR, “Beyond 10 & 40 Gbps: Next-generation Ethernet and SONET/SDH.”

Optical integration seems essential to create cost-effective, very-high-speed transceivers for networks operating above 40 Gbits/sec, say CIR analysts. CIR expects new chips will emerge that combine the functionality of lasers and amplifiers, receivers and multiplexers/demultiplexers, and/or laser arrays integrated with an optical routing device.

Optical integration coupled with silicon photonics will lead to smaller and lower-cost 10-Gbit/sec transceivers, contends the report. While there is considerable excitement about the XFP and SFP+ formats, these may not turn out to be the ultimate in 10-Gbit/sec modules, and the new technology directions could help 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) become dominant in the server space.

CIR believes that the 100GbE multisource agreement (MSA) process will be just as messy as the one for 10GbE. Early 100GbE MSAs may be derived from the XENPAK, IBPAK, or 300-pin MSAs for 10GbE, but module manufacturers will soon jockey for market share with ever-smaller MSAs and MSAs that are favored by the big equipment manufacturers, especially Cisco.

The report also notes that while the networking world now is moving toward 100GbE, there is little currently underway to take SONET/SDH standards beyond 40 Gbits/sec. The future of public networking now may lie in the ITU’s much touted OTN with SONET/SDH carried on a lambda, says CIR. Or it may lie in some carrier-class version of next-generation Ethernet.

Additional information about CIR’s new report is available on the company’s web site at

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