The road to 200G and 400G is set to become clearer after the London Internet Exchange (LINX 103) event in London at which Ambroise Thirion, Technology Solutions Specialist at ProLabs presented the company’s roadmap towards achieving 400G.
The past few years has seen ProLabs, specialist in compatible optical transceivers, support its customers in datacentres with bitrates of 25G, 50G and 100G. The company points out that this trend of expansion to meet consumer demands is set to extend throughout 2019 and early 2020, with the recent development of form factor-specific technologies to enable up to 400G.
This need for higher bitrate is being driven by the growing demand for bandwidth, the increased need for density and high-volume capabilities, all while minimising power consumption and power dissipation. With VoD and 5G, the number of connected devices worldwide is set to increase markedly by 2020, and this demand is being felt industry wide.
“Upgrading and future-proofing networks can be daunting and costly, which is why it is so important organisations take the time to understand; why they are moving to 200G or 400G, how these bitrates can be achieved using the right technology, and when the preferred solution can be expected to hit the market,” said Thirion.
“Some of the larger datacentres are putting plans in place to upgrade to 200G as soon as it’s available, while another scenario we are seeing is that organisations are opting to wait for a more mature technology and looking for a direct and complete deployment with 400G. It is ultimately up to the organisation on which route to take and when to take it. This is where our roadmap to 400G, presented at LINX 103 today, can help,”
200G and 400G are achievable thanks to a number of technologies including: PAM4 modulation; GEARBOX for 400G; and a set of new form factors such as QSFP-DD, OSFP and CFP8. As compared to the previous binary mechanism NRZ, PAM4 enabled transceivers offer customers double the transmission bitrate by increasing the levels of transmission of pulse-amplitude modulation.
According to ProLabs, for 400G specifically, the initial form factors will include eight lanes of 50G PAM4, while other versions will utilise the latest GEARBOX technology to facilitate four lanes of 100G PAM4. The GEARBOX component combines the power of numerous PAM4 modules to achieve the speed desired, in this case, 200G or 400G. Currently under development, ProLabs customers can expect solutions for up to 200G to be available from 2019 and 400G to be available from end of 2019.
Thirion added: “While there is no single best way to combine solutions for the ideal network, ProLabs have products available across a variety of form factors to suit specific applications. We have a proven track record in keeping our customers ahead of the curve, and the impending 200G/400G upgrade is no different. We are already supporting our customers in up to 100G networking and look forward to enabling 400G in the near future,”