100-gigabit network connectivity is almost here.
The fastest bandwidth in the world today that is commercially deployed is 40 gigabits per second (OC-768), but that is about to change as the NYSE Euronext is set to deploy 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100G) networking gear in its datacenters.
The new 100G connections come from networking vendor Ciena (NASDAQ: CIEN) and will leverage the emerging ODU-4 ITU (International Telecommunications Union) optical carrier standard for data transmission. While carriers including Comcast and research backbones including Internet2 have been testing 100G speed on their respective networks, the NYSE deployment marks one of the first production 100G networks for a commercial enterprise.
“NYSE Euronext has two new datacenters, one in New York and one in London, and they were looking to connect them to their trading floors with the lowest latency possible — that’s where 100 gigabit per second networking comes in,” Tom Mock, senior vice president of strategic planning at Ciena, told InternetNews.com. “It is not connecting New York to London, but rather is connecting the datacenter in New York with the trading floor in New York and the London datacenter with the London trading floor.”
Mock declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, other than to note it was a “substantial” effort.
The way Ciena is achieving the 100G networking speed is by combining ten 10GbE (10 Gigabit Ethernet) port into a single, 100G optical wavelength. Nortel Networks has also claimed that it is able to create a single 100G wavelength while Infinera demoed its take on how to achieve 100 gigabit-per-second speeds at Interop in 2008.
Mock noted that the NYSE will have to use 10GbE to scale up to 100G for now, due to the simple fact that there are currently no 100G interfaces for client devices like routers and servers.
“The thing that is different about our approach is that it is single-wavelength — some of the competing approaches in the market today get 100G of throughput but they get to that point with multiple wavelengths,” Mock argued. “The reason why that is a problem generally is the reason why you want to go to 100G — to get more information down your fiber. If all you’re doing is bonding together some existing channels, then you don’t actually get better efficiency.”
Mock added Ciena is putting 100 gigabits down a pipe in the same spectrum on a fiber that today is carrying 10 gigabits.
100GbE versus ODU-4
Ciena’s approach is also not leveraging the 100GbE (Gigabit Ethernet standard) currently under development. Instead, Mock explained that Ciena is using ITU’s ODU-4 standard, which, in his view, provides better performance as well as enhanced error-correction capabilities.
Mock added that the ODU-4 specification has not yet been finalized but he expects that it will be complete by the end of the year. As a result, Ciena is deploying a pre-standard implementation of the standard.
But just because Ciena is using the ODU-4 specification doesn’t mean that it’s not transporting Ethernet packets.
“Basically, what is happening is the 100 gigabit-per-second traffic is being packed inside an ODU wrapper,” Mock explained. “The Ethernet traffic is being carried transparently.”
“The installation of the equipment is imminent, Mock said. “We expect that part of their network operations by the summertime.”
Mock added, that it will however take until 2010 until the rest of the NYSE datacenter infrastructure is in place as part of the network build out.
According to Mock, the key to 100G roll out is its ability to increase transmission speed as well as reduce network latency.
“Before you can look at any packet or frame of data you have to receive it so transmission speed is important for latency,” Mock explained. “Other things we’ve done to reduce latency includes something dispersion compensation which is a way for compensating for imperfection in the optical fiber.”