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October 07, 2010

HSE Plugfest Demonstrates Interoperability of Ethernet Products

Last month, to verify the interoperability of 40G and 100 Gbps Ethernet test equipment, switches, routers, NICs, transceivers and cabling products, 16 Ethernet Alliance members including Altera, Amphenol (News - Alert), CommScope, Cisco, FCI, Finisar, Ixia, Leviton, Mellanox Technologies, Opnext, Panduit, Siemon, Vitesse Semiconductor, and Volex Group gathered at Ixia’s iSimCity in Santa Clara, Calif. This week Ethernet Alliance announced the summarized results of the Higher Speed Ethernet subcommittee interoperability plugfest for products designed to support IEEE (News - Alert) 802.3ba-2010 standard for 40 and 100 Gbps Ethernet solutions. The plugfest was assisted by the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab.

According to Ethernet Alliance, 135 tests were conducted and 99 percent were successful for interoperability between transceivers, cables and systems tested. Only one cable was determined to be faulty due to incorrect assembly. The interoperability results were impressive considering that this was the first time so many vendors had participated in such an event, stated the Alliance in a press release.

Cables tested either met or exceeded IEEE Std. 802.3ba, and bit error ratio tests were used in the transceiver and cable tests to verify link-level error-free operation within the requirements of IEEE Std. 802.3ba. Basic layer 3 traffic was used to verify system-level error-free operation.

For transceiver testing, Ixia (News - Alert) provided 40 and 100 Gbps test ports, while Cisco delivered 40 and 100 Gbps switch and router ports and Mellanox supplied 40 Gbps NICs, and development boards from Altera (News - Alert) and Vitesse. CFP MSA transceivers came from Finisar, Opnext and one other optics vendor, including QSFP transceivers from Finisar and QSFP active cables from Amphenol, Finisar and Siemon (News - Alert). Optical cables, including OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber and direct attached copper, passive and active cable assemblies along with direct attach active optical cable assemblies were contributed by Amphenol, CommScope, FCI, Leviton, Panduit, Siemon and Volex Group.

“This interoperability event demonstrates that the 40 and 100 Gbps Ethernet ecosystem is real and ready for deployment,” said David Schneider, marketing chair of the Ethernet Alliance’s Higher Speed Ethernet subcommittee, in a statement. “The fact that widespread interoperability was so quickly achieved is testament to the strong engineering teams of the member-participants and to the standard itself.”

In another statement, John D’Ambrosia, chair of the IEEE P802.3ba 40G and 100G Ethernet Task Force, and director of Ethernet-based Standards at the CTO Office for Force10 Networks, commented, “The fact that Ethernet Alliance members pulled together an interoperability event within one quarter of the standard’s ratification demonstrates the availability of the 40 and 100 Gbps Ethernet ecosystem.” “Future interoperability events and public demonstrations will highlight the growth of the ecosystem and the 40 and 100 Gbps Ethernet family of products and standards,” noted D’Ambrosia.

Additional information on the interoperability demonstration will be available in a white paper that will be published on the Ethernet Alliance website on Nov. 15.


Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard
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