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OIF demonstrates its 25 Gig interfaces are ready for use

Eleven companies have been participating in nine demonstrations at the European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication (ECOC2013) being held in London this week.

The Open Internetworking Forum (OIF) has demonstrated its specified 25 and 28 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) electrical interfaces working across various vendors' 100 Gigabit modules and ICs.

"The infrastructure over the backplane is maturing to the point of 25 Gig; you don't need special optical backplanes" John Monson, Mosys

"The ecosystem is maturing," says John Monson, vice president of marketing at Mosys, one of the 11 firms participating in the demonstrations. "The demos are not just showing the electrical OIF interfaces but their functioning between multiple vendors, with optical standards running across them at 100 Gig."

The demonstrations - using the CFP2, QSFP and CPAK optical modules and the 28Gbps CEI-28G-VSR module-to-chip electrical interface - set the stage for higher density 400 and 800 Gigabit line cards, says Monson. The CEI-28G-VSR is specified for up to 10dB of signal loss, equating to some 4 to 6 inches of trace on a high-quality material printed circuit board.

Higher density system backplanes are also ready using the OIF's CEI-25G-LR interface. "Until I get backplanes capable of high rates, there are just too many pins at 10 Gig to support 800 Gig and Terabit [line card] solutions," says Monson.

The ECOC demonstrations include two 100Gbps modules linked over fibre. "You have two CFP2 modules, from different vendors, running at 4x28Gbps OTN [Optical Transport Network] rates over 10km," says Monson.

On the host side, the  CEI-28G-VSR interface sits between a retimer inside the CFP2 module and a gearbox chip that translates between 25Gbps and the 10Gbps lanes that link a framer or a MAC IC on the line card.

The demonstrations cover different vendors' gearbox ICs talking to different optical module makers' CFP2s as well as Cisco's CPAK. "We are mixing and matching quite a bit in these demos," says Monson.


The OIF has already started work for the next-generation electrical interfaces that follow the 25 and 28 Gigabit ones

There is also a demo of a QSFP+ module driving active copper cable and one involving two 100 Gigabit SR10 modules and a gearbox IC. Three further demos involve the CEI-25G-LR backplane interface. Lastly, there is a demo involving the thermal modelling of a line card hosting eight slots of the CDFP 400Gbps optical module MSA.

The OIF's CEI-25G-LR is specificed for up to 25dB of loss. The IEEE P802.3bj 100 Gbps Backplane and Copper Cable Task Force is specifying an enhanced backplane electrical interface that supports 35dB of loss using techniques such as forward error correction.

"What the demos say is that the electrical interfaces, at 25 Gig, can be used not just for a 4-6 inch trace, but also high-density backplanes," says Monson. As a result line card density will increase using the smaller form factor 100Gbps optical modules. It also sets the stage for 400 Gig individual optics, says Monson: "The infrastructure over the backplane is maturing to the point of 25 Gig; you don't need special optical backplanes."

Meanwhile, standards work for 400 Gigabit Ethernet is still at an early stage, but proposals for 56Gbps links have been submitted for consideration. "Such a rate would double capacity and reduce the number of pins required on the ASSPs and ASICs," says Monson.

As to how the electrical interface for 400 Gigabit Ethernet will be implemented, it could be 16x25Gbps or 8x50Gbps lanes and will also be influenced by the chosen optical implementation. The OIF has already started work for the next-generation electrical interfaces that follow the 25 and 28 Gigabit ones.

The 11 companies and the two test and measurement companies taking part, as well as the demonstrations, are detailed in an OIF White Paper, click here.

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