100G Lambda MSA targets serial 100-Gbps optical lanes for 100GbE, 400GbE

The drive toward the development and implementation of serial 100-Gbps optical lanes for Ethernet applications has taken a step forward with the creation of the 100G Lambda Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group. The 22-member MSA seeks to create specifications for PAM-4 optical signaling and encoding, RS (544,514) forward error correction (FEC), and link characteristics for 100G and 400G applications at reaches of 2 km and 10 km over duplex single-mode fiber (SMF).

The drive toward the development and implementation of serial 100-Gbps optical lanes for Ethernet applications has taken a step forward with the creation of the 100G Lambda Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group. The 22-member MSA seeks to create specifications for PAM4 optical signaling and encoding, RS (544,514) forward error correction (FEC), and link characteristics for 100G and 400G applications at reaches of 2 km and 10 km over duplex single-mode fiber (SMF).

The group says its work will complement the 100GBASE-DR and 400GBASE-DR4 specifications under development within IEEE P802.3 (see "IEEE P802.3bs Task Force adopts serial 100G for 400 Gigabit Ethernet"). Those specifications target 500 m reach. Based on the naming conventions published on the MSA's website, it appears that the 100G work will tackle both 2 and 10 km, while the 400G efforts will focus (at least to start) on 2 km only. Those naming conventions are:

  • 100 Gbps over 2-km SMF: 100G-FR
  • 100 Gbps over 10-km SMF: 100G-LR
  • 400 Gbps over 2-km SMF: 400G-FR4

The use of optical 100G lanes, particularly as ASIC SerDes lanes pick up speed from the currently common 25 Gbps, will improve density and reduce costs, the group believes. Initial MSA members include Alibaba, Arista Networks, Broadcom, Ciena, Cisco, Finisar, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, Inphi, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Luxtera, MACOM, MaxLinear, Microsoft, Molex, NeoPhotonics, Nokia, Oclaro, Semtech, Source Photonics, and Sumitomo Electric. MACOM recently announced a component family targeted at single-lambda 100 Gbps applications (see "MACOM unveils PAM4-based single-lambda 100-Gbps component family").

The first set of specifications should be released by the end of this year. The group expects to finish the three specifications by the middle of 2018.

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Note: This article has been changed to correct an error in the FEC code name.

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