OIF finishes Flex Ethernet Implementation Agreement

Members of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) have completed work on the Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) Implementation Agreement. The fast-tracked agreement, completed a year after launch (see "Ethernet speed tuning goal of OIF FlexEthernet project"), specifies ways to support Ethernet MAC rates that don't correspond exactly to those in the IEEE's Ethernet specifications.

Members of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) have completed work on the Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) Implementation Agreement. The fast-tracked agreement, completed a year after launch (see "Ethernet speed tuning goal of OIF FlexEthernet project"), specifies ways to support Ethernet MAC rates that don't correspond exactly to those in the IEEE's Ethernet specifications.

Use of FlexE will enable network planners to tailor Ethernet transmission rates to take maximum advantage of existing bandwidth and reach. For example, a network manager may want to increase the transmission rate on an existing Gigabit Ethernet connection, but the link's characteristics would not support a full jump to 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Using FlexE, the operator could engineer the transmission to get as close to 10 Gbps as possible.

Conversely, operators also could create links with transmission speeds greater than Ethernet's current top rate of 100 Gbps.

"The FlexE IA allows Ethernet to be used more efficiently in response to ever changing technologies, link rates, and bandwidth needs," explained Scott Irwin of MoSys and the OIF's Physical and Link Layer Working Group – Protocol vice chair. "OIF members worked hard to get this IA completed in record time to meet the industry's need for flexible and scalable bandwidth provisioning."

The generic mechanism within the FlexE Implementation Agreement can enable MAC rates greater than standard PHY rates (through bonding) and less than such PHY specifications (through sub-rate and channelization). The Implementation Agreement is available for viewing on the OIF's website.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

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