Ethernet Alliance conducts multivendor 50GE interoperability testing

SAN DIEGO—The Ethernet Alliance held a multivendor interoperability demonstration at this year’s OFC to highlight 50GE port forwarding packets at line rate speed (50 Gbps) over transmission distances up to 40 km.

With 5G transport networks being a key initial target, the Ethernet Alliance said that the multivendor interoperability achieved in this test suggests that the 50GE industry chain is maturing and is almost ready for commercial applications.

This test used 50GE ports for networking to test the interoperability between Huawei routers and test instruments from different vendors, such as Spirent and Ixia. It also demonstrated the technical products of optical module vendors, such as Accelink, Hisense, Sumitomo, Source and Oplink.

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The test results showed that the line card can forward packets of varying lengths at the line speed without packet loss for a long time, and that the optical modules of different vendors can communicate with each other and provide transmission distances up to 40 km. This fully meets the metro coverage requirements of telecom networks.

Ethernet Alliance
John D'Ambrosia

“This 400GbE demonstration and its message is a public assertion of the Ethernet Alliance mission to foster confidence in IEEE 802 Ethernet technologies and products,” said John D’Ambrosia, chairman of the Ethernet Alliance and senior principal engineer for Huawei, in a blog post. “With that said, we should also explore other aspects of this demonstration, because the overall message is that Ethernet at 10GbE, 25GbE, 50GbE, 100GbE, and 400GbE is here and ready to address multiple application spaces. And as the Ethernet Alliance 2018 roadmap indicates Ethernet is going everywherethere is no single path to take any more, as every application space is now on its own trajectory.”

Although 50 GbE is not an official standard yet, The Ethernet Alliance said that it will leverage technology developed for 400 GbE. During the final balloting stages in the IEEE, it is anticipated that 50GbE will make its ratified standard debut later this year. 

Additionally, IEEE 802.3 Beyond 10km Optical PHYs Study Group is in the development stages of a project that will include an expansion of 50 GbE to 40 km distances on single-mode fiber. 

D’Ambrosia said he expects the application of 50 GbE will be immediate applicable to China’s mobile operator backhaul networks.

“One of the motivators for this effort is support of the mobile backhaul networks, particularly in China,” D’Ambrosia said. “This use case is a highlight of the geographical diversity that China’s bandwidth demands are clearly growing at a faster pace than other regions of the world.”