The 40/100G Ethernet Testing: Business As Usual?

By Paul Mooney On September 22, 2009
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Everybody’s talking about 40/100G Ethernet. It will replace SONET in a decade. It’s a revenue playground for those with the vision and expertise to deliver in a timely fashion with quality and reliability. This group is doing a trial. That group has released a product.

And, from a market perspective, the time for 40/100G is here. Due to the abundant proliferation of mobile applications and the explosion of IP video, not to mention a host of other applications dumping new traffic on the network, the fiber overbuild of the past decade has gone from feast to famine, as far as bandwidth is concerned. For those who want to expand the revenue stream to accommodate these services, 40/100G Ethernet is clearly the path forward.

When it comes to trials and implementation, everyone talks about lane timing and skew to solve the problem of moving bits at 100 Gbps, error free. But equally challenging, if not more so, is scaling the upper-layer engines to deliver services and quality of experience at four to ten times the current rate. Brand credibility and customer confidence depend on solving both problems.

This of course means testing. The sheer speed required to send data and to support services at 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps might not just break network devices, it might even break the testers used to validate the performance of services on those devices.

Because a trial is only as good as the test platform. If the tester can’t accurately count packets and measure latency and jitter at 100 Gbps, it could pass systems that won’t stand up to real-world traffic in a real network.

To learn more about the issues associated with testing 40/100G Ethernet, take a look at this whitepaper. [Testing 10/100G Ethernet] It explores the challenges in the physical layer, limitations in the test system, the budget in the test lab, and delays in the development/deployment cycle.

Because passing a trial but failing in the network can ultimately cost a vendor or provider a lot more than a place in the 40/100G Ethernet revenue playground.

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