Optical Module Development to Diversify Even Further


LightCounting releases a Research Note on activities in the Ethernet space


The IEEE 802 Working Group has been busy

As the Chair of the Ethernet Alliance, John D’Ambrosia, has noted, it took 40 years for the IEEE to standardize six Ethernet rates and we are now working on six new rates at the same time. A lot is happening with progress in meetings and in ad hoc web sessions between meetings.

The work of the original 25GbE Task Force is now complete. 50GbE and 200GbE task force efforts are up and running. All of the 50G, 200G and next-gen 100G objectives are to be based on 50G PAM4 building blocks. The 400GbE Task Force was re-chartered to include single-mode solutions for 200GbE on the basis of sharing technology. This all means twelve additional high-speed (25G and up) optical interfaces are now being defined across three IEEE 802.3 task forces.

Scott Kipp of Brocade summarized all that is happening in the IEEE in the figure below:


New optical modules will be housed in new form factors

In general, faceplate density must keep pace with the scale up and scale out needs of large data centers. Breakout from modules to servers and switch to switch is becoming even more important. To pack more functional ports in the same space means new form factors and new interfaces. The Ethernet Alliance depicts the new options in the figure below:

Source: Ethernet Alliance

Unfortunately, all of the new optical PMDs and form factors combined with multiple electrical interface choices have produced a dizzying array of modules to be developed.

LightCounting clients can access the full version of the research note at:





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