10 Terabit Ethernet:  from 10 Gigabit Ethernet, to 100 Gigabit Ethernet, to 1 Terabit Ethernet

By Steve Gilheany

10 Terabit Ethernet: from 10 Gigabit Ethernet, to 100 Gigabit Ethernet, to 1 Terabit Ethernet

Ethernet Timeline

  • 10 Megabit Ethernet 1990*
  • 100 Megabit Ethernet 1995
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet 1998
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet 2002
  • 100 Gigabit Ethernet 2006**
  • 1 Terabit Ethernet 2008**
  • 10 Terabit Ethernet 2010**
* Invented 1976, 10BaseT 1990
** projected

Every kind of networking is coming together: LANs (Local Area Networks), SANs (Storage / System Area Networks), telephony, cable TV, inter-city optical fiber links, etc., but if you don't call it Ethernet you cannot sell it. Your networking must also include a reference to IP (Internet Protocol) to be marketable.

Above 10 Gigabit Ethernet lies 100 Gigabit Ethernet. The fastest commercial bit rate on a fiber transmitter/receiver pair is 80 Gigabits per second. Each Ethernet speed increase must be an order of magnitude (a factor of 10) to be worth the effort to incorporate a change, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet has not been commercially possible with a simple bit multiplexing solution, but NTT has solved this problem and has the first 100 Gigabit per second chip to begin a 10 Gigabit system [http://www.ntt.co.jp/news/news02e/0212/021204.html]. Currently, Nortel Networks offers DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) where 160 of the 40 Gigabit transmitter/receiver pairs are used to transmit 160 wavelengths (infrared colors) on the same fiber yielding a composite, multi-channel, bandwidth of 6.4 terabits per second. Because it is now impossible to sell networking unless it is called Ethernet (regardless of the actual protocols used), it is likely that 1 Terabit Ethernet and even 10 Terabit Ethernet (using 100 wavelengths used by 100 gigabit per second transmitter / receiver pairs) may soon be announced. Only a protocol name change is needed. And the name change is merely the acknowledgment that Ethernet protocols can tunnel through other protocols (such as DWDM) (and vice versa). In fact, Atrica has been advertising such a multiplexed version of 100 Gigabit Ethernet since 2001.[http://www.atrica.com/products/a_8000.html] Now that NTT has announced a reliable 100 Gigabit per second transmitter/receiver pair, the progression may be 1 wavelength for 100 Gigabit Ethernet, 10 wavelength (10 x 100 Gigabits per second) CWDM (Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing) for 1 Terabit Ethernet, and 100 wavelength (100 x 100 Gigabits per second) DWDM for 10 Terabit per second Ethernet in the near future.

iSCSI (Internet SCSI) over Ethernet is replacing: *SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface, in 1979 it was Shugart Associates Systems Interface: *SASI), *FC (Fibre Channel), and even *ATA (IBM PC AT Attachment) aka (also known as) *IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) *see [http://www.pcguide.com], Ethernet is replacing ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode), Sonet (Synchronous Optical NETwork), POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service, which is being replaced with Gigabit Ethernet to the home in Grant County, Washington, USA ) [see references from Cisco Systems 1, 2, 3, or 4] [www.wwp.com], *PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect local bus), Infiniband, and every other protocol, because, as described above, if you don't call it Ethernet you cannot sell it. Everything, in every type of, communications must now also include a reference to IP (Internet Protocol) for the same reason.

At the same time that the transmitter / receiver pairs are getting faster, and DWMD is adding channels, the capacity of fibers is increasing, as is the transmission distance available without repeaters.Omni-Guide [http://www.omni-guide.com/; then click on enter] is working on fibers that "could substantially reduce or even eliminate the need for amplifiers in optical networks.Secondly it will offer a bandwidth capacity that could potentially be several orders of magnitude greater than conventional single-mode optical fibers." Eliminating amplifiers greatly reduces the cost of cables (and reduces maintenance costs when the cables are under the ocean). If today's cables can carry 10 Gigabits per second easily and 100 Gigabits to about 10 terabits per second with DWDM, then "a bandwidth capacity that could potentially be several orders of magnitude greater" (also from Omni-Guide) means fiber optic transmission rates from 100 Gigabits per second to 1 Petabit per second (1 Petabit per second is 10**15 bits per second and is 10**5 times the speed of a 10 Gigabit link and 10**3 times the speed of a 1 Terabit link). The 1.3 micron wavelength used in communications has a frequency of about 230 TeraHertz. At one bit per baud (transition through zero, eponymous for Emile Baudot) this would support a theoretical maximum data rate of 230 Terabits per second. At 8 bits per baud (256 detectable light levels) (256 = 2**8) this would be 1.84 Petabits per second. And, a 56 kilobit per second modem achieves over 16 bits per baud on a 3 kilohertz voice grade line.

From the document management continuum at http://www.ArchiveBuilders.com/whitepapers; used in a 3 day course in document management and document imaging -- http://www.ArchiveBuilders.com/abcourses.html

Published Thursday, August 28th, 2003

Written by Steve Gilheany

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