OIF Announces Plans for SDN Transport API Interoperability Demonstration

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) announced today plans for a global Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Transport Application Programming Interface (T-API) interoperability demonstration in the fall of 2016. The OIF is partnering with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the adoption of open SDN, to take the testing into carrier labs worldwide and lead the industry towards the wide-scale deployment of commercial SDN. Network virtualization and flexibility to deal with peak traffic events, link failures and network slicing are driving motivations behind the demonstration. Currently the transport layer operates with no awareness of the packet layer above it, so manual intervention is often needed to address issues. By incorporating the T-API, the problems can be corrected automatically through software.

Host carriers for the demonstration include China Telecom, China Unicom, SK Telecom, Telefónica and Verizon. Participating vendors include ADVA Optical Networking, Ciena, Coriant, Fiberhome, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Juniper Networks, NEC Corporation, Sedona Systems, SM Optics and ZTE. Consulting carriers include Orange and TELUS.  Academic and/or research institution participants include China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) and Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC).

“In the modern operating environment, carriers need to dynamically move capacity to handle quickly changing traffic demands,” said Jonathan Sadler of Coriant and the OIF’s technical committee vice chair and acting networking interoperability chair. “The APIs that are being tested create a new breed of applications. Like so many of the interoperability agreements developed by the OIF, demand from carriers continues to drive the technical direction of the Forum.”

“ONF and the OIF are united in our goal of moving these technical advances into the market for the benefit of network operators and their users,” said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation. “We are pleased to extend our longstanding collaboration with the OIF on T-API, leveraging OIF’s specialized optical expertise, and these demonstrations inspire operators and vendors alike to accelerate development and deployment.”

One main focus of the global demonstration is the notification interface – the means for notifying applications that congestion is being observed, triggering moving around of traffic and addition of capacity. Additional use cases based upon the API standards will be clarified during the testing and defined through OIF implementation agreements to provide a common set of requirements. Regional demonstration read-out events will take place in early 2017 and a whitepaper describing the event will be available to the public. Additional information can be found at http://www.oiforum.com/meetings-and-events/2016-oif-sdn-t-api-demo/.

 

About the OIF
Launched in 1998, the OIF is the first industry group to unite representatives from data and optical networking disciplines, including many of the world’s leading carriers, component manufacturers and system vendors. The OIF promotes the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services through the creation of Implementation Agreements (IAs) for optical, interconnect, network processing, component and networking systems technologies. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of standards bodies and industry forums with the goal of promoting worldwide compatibility of optical internetworking products.  Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

 

OIF Launches CEI-112G Project for 100G Serial Electrical Links

In the wake of its 3rd quarter meeting, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) announced that it has begun work on a 100G Serial Electrical Link project. The very short reach (VSR) CEI-112G chip-to-module interface project is aimed at meeting the most immediate needs of the industry, with both shorter and longer reach projects expected to follow. CEI-112G-VSR will support a nominal lane rate of 112 Gb/s, enabling narrower interfaces to optical modules and is expected to be more energy efficient than previous interfaces. The CEI-112G-VSR specification doubles data rates over the current generation CEI-56G-VSR interfaces.

Following the OIF’s industry workshop “100G Serial Electrical Links and Beyond” in March, a large number of Forum members supported the development of an implementation agreement addressing CEI-112G. That workshop, held at OFC 2016, was open to the public and featured OIF and industry subject matter experts addressing both 100 Gb/s serial applications and the interfaces needed to address higher bandwidth.

“Optical lane speeds have run faster than electrical lane speeds since the introduction of 10G Ethernet. While this is not a problem in the early days of a new data rate, the lowest module cost is achieved when optical and electrical lane speeds are the same,” said Dale Murray, Principal Analyst with LightCounting Market Research. “The first optical modules running 100 Gb/s serial are expected in 2018, so now is the time for the OIF to begin work on this CEI-112G project.”

“As bandwidth increases, electrical interfaces need to reflect that trend. Given the lead times, development of standards for the next generation of electrical links needs to start now,” said David Stauffer of Kandou Bus and the OIF’s Physical and Link Layer Working Group Chair and board member.  “The OIF is continuing its roadmap for 100 Gb/s thru 400 Gb/s and beyond applications, addressing multiple reaches for chip-to-chip and chip-to module interfaces.”

OIF Leaders Speaking at Ethernet Alliance TEF in September

Two OIF industry experts will address the Ethernet Alliance TEF event in September in Santa Clara. Nathan Tracy, OIF Technical Committee Chair, TE Connectivity will speak about the OIF’s CEI-112G project at a panel session entitled “Are Standardized Ethernet Optics Obsolete?” Tom Issenhuth, OIF Board Member from Microsoft will address the OIF’s FlexE implementation Agreement at a session entitled “Ethernet Flexes Its Ports”. More information about the conference can be found at http://www.oiforum.com/meetings-and-events/2016-speaking-engagements-and-supported-events/ .

About the OIF

Launched in 1998, the OIF is the first industry group to unite representatives from data and optical networking disciplines, including many of the world’s leading carriers, component manufacturers and system vendors. The OIF promotes the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services through the creation of Implementation Agreements (IAs) for optical, interconnect, network processing, component and networking systems technologies. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of standards bodies and industry forums with the goal of promoting worldwide compatibility of optical internetworking products.  Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

 

OIF starts work on a terabit-plus CFP8-ACO module

Roy Rubenstein, Gazettabyte

July 26, 2016

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has started a new analogue coherent optics (ACO) specification based on the CFP8 pluggable module.

The CFP8 is the latest is a series of optical modules specified by the CFP Multi-Source Agreement and will support the emerging 400 Gigabit Ethernet standard.

Karl Gass

An ACO module used for optical transport integrates the optics and driver electronics while the accompanying coherent DSP-ASIC residing on the line card.

Systems vendors can thus use their own DSP-ASIC, or a merchant one if they don’t have an in-house design, while choosing the coherent optics from various module makers. The optics and the DSP-ASIC communicate via a high-speed electrical connector on the line card.

ACO design

The OIF completed earlier this year the specification of the CFP2-ACO.

Current CFP2-ACO modules support single-wavelength transmission rates from 100 gigabit to 250 gigabit depending on the baud rate and modulation scheme used. The goal of the CFP8-ACO is to support up to four wavelengths, each capable of up to 400 gigabit-per-second transmissions.

This project is going to drive innovation

“This isn’t something there is a dire need for now but the projection is that this will be needed in two years’ time,” says Karl Gass of Qorvo and the OIF Physical and Link Layer Working Group optical vice chair.

OIF members considered several candidate optical modules for the next-generation ACO before choosing the CFP8. These included the existing CFP2 and the CFP4. There were some proponents for the QSFP but its limited size and power consumption is problematic when considering long-haul applications, says Gass.

Source: Finisar

One difference between the CFP2 and CFP8 modules is that the electrical connector of the CFP8 supports 16 differential pairs while the CFP2 connector supports 10 pairs.

“Both connectors have similar RF performance and therefore can handle similar baud rates,” says Ian Betty of Ciena and OIF board member and editor of the CFP2-ACO Implementation Agreement. To achieve 400 gigabit on a wavelength for the CFP8-ACO, the electrical connector will need to support 64 gigabaud.

Betty points out that for coherent signalling, four differential pairs per optical carrier are needed. “This is independent of the baud rate and the modulation format,” says Betty.

So while it is not part of the existing Implementation Agreement, the CFP2-ACO could support two optical carriers while the CFP8 will support up to four carriers.

“This is only the electrical connector interface capacity,” says Betty. “It does not imply it is possible to fit this amount of optics and electronics in the size and power budget.” The CFP8 supports a power envelope of 20W compared to 12W of the CFP2.

The CFP2-ACO showing the optical building blocks and the electrical connector linking the module to the DSP-ASIC. Source: OIF

The CFP8 occupies approximately the same area as the CFP2 but is not as tall such that the module can be doubled-stacked on a line card for a total of 16 CFP8-ACOs on a line card.

Given that the CFP8 will support up to four carriers per module – each up to 400 gigabit – a future line card could support 25.6 terabits of capacity. This is comparable to the total transport capacity of current leading dense WDM optical transport systems.

Rafik Ward, vice president of marketing at Finisar, says such a belly-to-belly configuration of the modules provides future-proofing for next-generation lineside interfaces. “Having said that, it is not clear when, or how, we will be able to technically support a four-carrier coherent solution in a CFP8 form factor,” says Ward.

Oclaro stresses that such a high total capacity implies that sufficient coherent DSP silicon can fit on the line card. Otherwise, the smaller-height CFP8 module may not enable the fully expected card density if the DSP chips are too large or too power-hungry.

OIF goal

Besides resulting in a higher density module, a key OIF goal of the work is to garner as much industry support as possible to back the CFP8-ACO. “How to create the quantity of scale so that deployment becomes less expensive and therefore quicker to implement,” says Gass.

The OIF expects the work to be similar to the development of the CFP2-ACO Implementation Agreement. But one desired difference is to limit the classes associated with the module. The CFP2-ACO has three class categories based on whether the module has a limited and linear output. “The goal of the CFP8-ACO is to limit the designs to single classes per wavelength count,” says Gass.

Gass is looking forward to the CFP8-ACO specification work. Certain standards efforts largely involve making sure components fit into a box whereas the CFP8-ACO will be more engaging. “This project is going to drive innovation and that will drive some technical work,” says Gass.

 

OIF Starts Work on CFP8-ACO and Completes Multi-Link Gearbox Agreement

The Optical Internetworking Forum has approved Multi-Link Gearbox (MLG) 3.0, an agreement that supports 100G links and allows independent 10GBASE-R signals to transit physical 20G and 40G lanes for higher bandwidth capability. In addition, the members voted to start work on a CFP8-ACO project, building on the recently approved CFP2-ACO IA that was demonstrated in market-available products at OFC in March of this year.

CFP8-ACO Project Start

The OIF has commenced work on a new analog coherent optics project that supports higher baud rate and higher wavelength/ carrier-count applications at higher density than the existing CFP2-ACO. The new project, dubbed CFP8-ACO, utilizes the existing CFP8 definition from the CFP-MSA group and provides up to 4 wavelengths/carriers per module. In addition to a 20w power profile, the new specification includes a 9.5mm module height, allowing for a double-stack line card or belly-to-belly. A 40mm module width will enable a 2 x 8 configuration for a 16 module line card.  This allows for an increased number of modules as well as an increased number of wavelength/carriers.

“The OIF is looking ahead to what is needed in 2018 and we need to get started now to support the market needs for more wavelength/carriers in coherent optics modules,” said Karl Gass of Qorvo and the OIF Physical and Link Layer Working Group optical vice chair.  “Our goal with the CFP8-ACO module is a 4x increase in faceplate density and we expect to complete this next year.”

Multi-Link Gearbox Implementation Agreement Completed          

The MLG 3.0 specifies a logic layer between the Ethernet MAC and PHY layer hardware that allows the data from multiple MACs to be aggregated onto higher speed data links.  This allows independent 10GBASE-R and 40GBASE-R signals to transit 4x25G and 8x25G gearboxes. The agreement defines three MLG configurations: A 4x25G lane configuration is comprised of 20 MLG lanes. An 8x25G lane configuration is comprised of 40 MLG lanes. A 2x20G/1x40G lane configuration is comprised of 4 MLG lanes (similar to 40GBASE-R) to carry up to four 10GBASE-R signals.
“It remains important to the industry to be able to upgrade bandwidth without replacing the entire existing infrastructure,” said David Stauffer, Kandou Bus, S.A and the OIF Physical and Link Layer Working Group chair. “The MLG IA simplifies the migration path for adoption of new technology.”

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

 

OIF Completes FlexE IA for Data Center Interconnections

Only one year after starting a project to enable flexible Ethernet for Data Center and transport interconnect efficiency, OIF members have finalized an implementation agreement (IA).  The Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) IA provides a way for Ethernet equipment to more efficiently utilize optical link bandwidth.  Ethernet connections between routers or transport gear need to be flexible in order to provide incremental increases in bandwidth beyond 100G.  The FlexE IA bridges the gap between previous, current and next-generation rates.

“The FlexE IA allows Ethernet to be used more efficiently in response to ever changing technologies, link rates, and bandwidth needs,” said Scott Irwin of MoSys and the OIF’s Physical and Link Layer Working Group – Protocol Vice Chair.  “OIF members worked hard to get this IA completed in record time to meet the industry’s need for flexible and scalable bandwidth provisioning.”

The FlexE Implementation Agreement provides a generic mechanism for supporting a variety of Ethernet MAC rates that may or may not correspond to any existing Ethernet PHY rate. This includes MAC rates that are both greater than (through bonding) and less than (through sub-rate and channelization) the Ethernet PHY rates used to carry FlexE.

The FlexE implementation agreement can be viewed here.

 

About the OIF

The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

OIF Approves Pluggable Coherent Optics Module Implementation Agreement for Industry Use

CFP2-ACO Addresses Next Generation Optical Networking Equipment

Fremont, Calif –February 18, 2016 – The membership of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has approved an Implementation Agreement (IA) on pluggable coherent optics modules for industry use. The CFP2 Analog Coherent Optics (CFP2-ACO) IA contains all functions required to perform bi-directional dual polarization coherent optical signaling over a pair of single mode optical fibers. These modules are expected to be applicable across multiple coherent DSP ASIC generations from various DSP vendors.

Faceplate density of optical IO is a key metric for switching and line-side transport applications. The roadmap for reduction in module size is accelerated by moving functions from the traditional CFP-series module to the host board. Moving the high power electronics functions to the line card permits optimal cooling of the electronics, enabling higher performance line-side applications as well as increasing the reliability of the module itself.

“A long life-span for the CFP2-ACO solution is expected by providing optical module vendors a large addressable market,” said Ian Betty of Ciena and OIF board member and IA editor. “Significant innovation and cost reduction in the coherent optics solutions for Metro-to-Regional reach line-side transport is anticipated with the CFP2-ACO solution.”

OIF member companies will demonstrate multi-vendor interoperability of the expanding ecosystem for pluggable coherent optics in a live environment at OFC, March 22-24 in Booth #3619.  More information on the OIF PLL Interoperability Demonstration 2016 can be found here.

The CFP2-ACO module implementation agreement can be found here.

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

OIF to Host Public Workshop on 100G Developments

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will host a public workshop addressing the latest developments in 100G Serial, immediately following OFC 2016 in Anaheim, California. The event, OIF Workshop – 100G Serial Electrical Links and Beyond, is open to the public and scheduled for Thursday, March 24, 2016, from 12:30 pm to 6:15 pm at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. The workshop will feature subject matter experts from the OIF and will include an industry view presented by Dale Murray, Principal Analyst at LightCounting Market Research.

“This event presents an opportunity for members of the larger optical networking industry to see the technical direction of 100G Serial,” said Tom Palkert, OIF Physical & Link Layer Working Group Vice Chair – Electrical, System Architect at Molex. “100G developments are evolving rapidly – companies that are prepared with interoperable solutions will have a distinct advantage.”

The deadline to register is March 17, 2016. Registration fee includes a one-hour cocktail reception. For details including registration information, please click HERE.

Two working sessions led by OIF subject matter experts will focus on 100G serial application requirements and 100G serial electrical technology.

Session 1 – 100G Serial Application Requirements

1:40 pm -2:20 pm:  Networking Trends – Matt Traverso, Principal Engineer, Cisco Systems, Inc.

2:20 pm – 3:00 pm:  Cloud Scale – Brad Booth, Principal Architect, Microsoft Azure Networking

3:00 pm – 3:40 pm:  Storage and CPU – Scott Kipp, Senior Technologist, Brocade

Session 2 – 100G Serial Electrical Technology

4:00 pm – 4:40 pm:  PAM Options – Atul Gupta, Chief Technologist, MACOM

4:40 pm – 5:20 pm:  100G Connectors/Cables – David Helster, Director, Signal Integrity and System Architecture, TE Connectivity

5:20 pm – 6:00 pm:  Alternate Modulation – David Stauffer, Senior Engineer, Kandou Bus, S.A.

6:00 pm – 6:15 pm: Wrap up – Tom Palkert

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm:  Reception

 

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

 

OIF Launches Flex Coherent DWDM Framework Effort, Elects New Officers

Members of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) are working to specify a framework for Flex Coherent DWDM Transmission in the application fields of long haul, metro, and data center inter-connection. The framework will build upon work the OIF completed for 100G LH DWDM and provide guidance for 400G.

“We’ve discussed the hardware implications of SDN for a couple years now,” said Junjie Li, of China Telecom and OIF board member. “We need to move away from fixed performance transceivers in order to provide Service Providers with a flexible solution, complete with software ‘knobs’ that can be dialed-in to achieve the desired performance.”

Dynamic networks require flexibility in reach, data rate, and spectral efficiency. This can be accomplished through the following flexible transceiver attributes: modulation formats, symbol rates, and number of subcarriers. Flex Coherent DWDM will outline a software-defined optics ecosystem that initially leverages past and current OIF projects for tunable lasers, high bandwidth PMQ modulated transmitters and integrated coherent receivers. The Flex Coherent DWDM Transmission will start with the following modulation formats suitable for different scenarios; QPSK, 8QAM, 16QAM for long haul and metro applications and 32QAM, 64QAM for data center inter-connection applications.

Board Elections

The OIF announced the results of its recent leadership elections, welcoming Peter Landon of BTI Systems as the chair of the Networking & Operations Working Group committee for 2-year term.

Newly elected to the Board of Directors are Ian Betty of Ciena for a 2-year term, Tom Issenhuth of Microsoft for a 2-year term and Mike Tessaro of Qorvo for a 1-year term. Junjie Li of China Telecom was re-elected to the board for a 1-year term. John McDonough of NEC America will serve as president. Dave Brown of Alcatel-Lucent continues to serve as VP of Marketing and Dave Stauffer of Kandou Bus continues to serve as secretary/treasurer.

OIF Day at Huawei Technologies

In conjunction with the Forum’s recent quarterly meeting in Shanghai, the OIF and Huawei Technologies hosted a day of interactive and educational workshops featuring OIF and Huawei Technologies subject matter experts. Topics covered included OIF projects and technical work, intelligent optical networking, and 400G. The exclusive event was focused on helping attendees understand system vendor challenges and strategies, strengthening member/executive support for the OIF and establishing an input and validation process for strategic/project planning.

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

OIF to Display 400G CEI 56G Interfaces, Discuss SDN Work at ECOC

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will showcase the “Next Generation of Pluggable Modules” to ECOC attendees at the Forum’s booth #345 in Valencia, Spain, September 28-30. OIF representatives will also present sessions on the Forum’s latest work on 400G and SDN.

On September 25th, the OIF and global telecom carrier Orange will host an interactive and educational workshop at the Orange Labs in Issy les Moulineaux near Paris. The event features subject matter experts from the OIF and Orange addressing intelligent optical networking, Transport SDN and 400G, as well as OIF projects and directions.  This event is the latest of a series of OIF Day programs held with select carriers and optical vendors to inform them on the latest developments in optical network physical and control interfaces and exchange views on future directions in the optical networking industry.

 OIF at ECOC – “Enabling the Next Generation of Pluggable Modules”

The OIF will show 56Gb/s NRZ and PAM4 electrical interfaces as well as pluggable coherent optics demonstrations at ECOC in booth #345. The demonstration will include CFP2-ACO, showing key components of the ecosystem necessary to accelerate the movement of coherent optics into the pluggable realm. The two Common Electrical Interface (CEI) demos address the fourth generation CEI-56G. These demos show the next generation electrical data rates in chip to module implementations. The current efforts include the definition of both PAM4 and NRZ modulations to enable 56Gb/s electrical interfaces across diverse industry applications.

OIF Presentations at ECOC Market Focus Theater

Monday, September 28 – 2:05-2:35 pm
Topic: OIF’s CEI 56G Interfaces – Key Building Blocks for Optics in Next Generation 400G Data Centers
Presenter: Ed Frlan, OIF Physical & Link Layer Interoperability Working Group Chair, Semtech

Tuesday, September 29 – 1:35-2:05 pm
Topic: Gearing up for Transport SDN Deployment – a starter kit for early adopters
Presenters: Christophe Betoule, Orange and Jonathan Sadler, OIF Technical Committee Vice Chair, Coriant

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

 

OIF Technical Work Continues at Rapid Pace With 400G White Paper, New Implementation Agreements

Continuing a tradition of producing timely, relevant technical work, the members of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) have published a whitepaper that provides the carrier perspective on 400G technology options and its impact on future high-capacity WDM applications. The Forum also approved implementation agreements that outline service provider requirements for Neighbor Discovery and updated specifications for the industry standard Integrable Tunable Laser MSA.

In an effort to bring order and clarity to the race to build 400G transport solutions, the OIF’s 400G whitepaper summarizes the technology options for specific applications such as long-haul, metro and data center interconnect. Entitled “Technology Options for 400G Implementation”, the whitepaper provides a consensus from carriers on the specific system parameters and network requirements needed for 400G to support increased bandwidth demands in optical networks.

“As the industry moves forward towards 400G-transmission speed, it is crucial to have carriers and vendors working together, as was achieved with 100G optical interfaces,” said Karl Gass, of Qorvo and the OIF PLL working group vice-chair, optical. “This whitepaper summarizes the requirements by carriers for specific technology applications, and we expect to start projects to define the best, near term solutions for 400G networks.”

Implementation Agreements Approved

Service providers need to streamline and reduce cost of operating their optical networks; one way is to reduce manual effort by automating link configuration processes. Automating the process of link identification and exchanging the link configuration data is known colloquially as Neighbor Discovery. The ITU-T has defined an architecture and protocol for Neighbor Discovery in G.7714 and G.7714.1, but implementation of the specifications has been limited. The OIF’s “Neighbor Discovery Implementation Agreement 1.0” utilizes ITU-T specifications to support the exchange of:

  • Identity of the network element port connected to the far end of the link,
  • Data-plane capability of the network element ports on each link end,
  • Management-plane details for each link end,
  • Control-plane details for each link end.

The resulting specification provides carriers with an interoperable solution complete with use cases, requirements, procedure and protocols conforming to the ITU-T’s specifications.

The OIF continues to build on the industry standard for tunable lasers established by the forum six years ago. The OIF has updated the existing MSA and assembly IA to add the functionality needed for next generation, highly flexible networks.

The Integrable Tunable Laser Assembly MSA (ITLA-MSA 1.3) and Micro – Integrable Tunable Laser Assembly IA (OIF-MicroITLA-01.1) updates add the provision of high resolution registers and raises the protocol version to 3.0.0.

The 400G white paper and implementation agreements can be found here.

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

It’s Getting Hot In Here!

In an effort to help optical module suppliers and system designers reduce heat and thermal management issues, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has approved a thermal interface implementation agreement (IA) for pluggable optics modules. The agreement summarizes the information to be provided by module suppliers to facilitate thermal integration of
the module within the host system. It also defines the requirements and methods for testing a thermal interface between a pluggable optical module and the hostsystem heatsink.

“When optical modules are mated with heatsinks, the goal is to remove over 90% of
the heat through the interface area into the airflow stream via the heatsink,” said
Torsten Wuth, of Coriant and the OIF Physical Layer User Group Working Group chair.
“Nominal ranges of heat flux are defined as Power Density classes. The OIF
agreement defines acceptable thermal impedances for the contact area for various
pluggable module types and a method of measuring the impedance.”

The OIF previously addressed various methods that could be employed by system
designers to reduce the temperatures of modules in air-cooled systems in the
Thermal Management at the Faceplate white paper. Those methods included the
direction of airflow over the modules, internal system baffling to direct airflow,
placement of the modules and other heat dissipating devices on the blade,
optimizing fin layout on the heatsink, and increasing the thermal conductivity of the
heatsink, as well as the importance of thermal contact resistance between the
module and the heatsink.

The new IA specifies generic interface properties but includes specific examples
such as, CFP, CFP2, CFP4, XFP, SFP, SFP+, QSFP, QSFP+, and CDFP. Of primary
concern are interfaces where the pluggable module slides through the faceplate and
under a spring-loaded heat sink. This type of interface has limited contact force
because the insertion and extraction force and force from the heatsink on the
connectors are limited.

For more information go to http://www.oiforum.com/documents/implementationagreements/

About the OIF

The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking
solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements
(IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market
adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and
electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies,
and to network control and operations including software defined networks and
network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of
national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only
industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking,
including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors,
component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF
can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

OIF moves to raise coherent transmission baud rate

Gazettabyte – Roy Rubenstein

May 21, 2015

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has started modulator and receiver specification work to enhance coherent optical transmission performance. The OIF initiative aims to optimise modulator and receiver photonics operating at a higher baud rate than the current 32 Gigabaud (Gbaud).”We want the two projects to look at those trade-offs and look at how we could build the particular components that could support higher individual channel rates,” says Karl Gass of Qorvo and the OIF physical and link layer working group vice chair, optical.

Karl Gass

The OIF members, which include operators, internet content providers, equipment makers, and optical component and chip players, want components that work over a wide bandwidth, says Gass. This will allow the modulator and receiver to be optimised for the new higher baud rate.

“Perhaps I tune it [the modulator] for 40 Gbaud and it works very linearly there, but because of the trade-off I make, it doesn’t work very well anywhere else,” says Gass. “But I’m willing to make the trade-off to get to that speed.” Gass uses 40 Gbaud as an example only, stressing that much work is required before the OIF members choose the next baud rate.

“We want the two projects to look at those trade-offs and look at how we could build the particular components that could support higher individual channel rates”

The modulator and receiver optimisations will also be chosen independent of technology since lithium niobate, indium phosphide and silicon photonics are all used for coherent modulation.

The OIF has not detailed timescales but Gass says projects usually take 18 months to two years.

Meanwhile, the OIF has completed two projects, the specification outputs of which are referred to as implementation agreements (IAs).

One is for integrated dual polarisation micro-intradyne coherent receivers (micro-ICR) for the CFP2. At OFC 2015, several companies detailed first designs for coherent line side optics using the CFP2 module.

The micro-ICR IA also defines a low-speed SPI bus interface to control the trans-impedence amplifiers in the coherent receiver. The digital bus interface enables circuit settings to be changed with operating temperature. With the first generation coherent receiver design, analogue signalling was used for their control, says Gass. The smaller micro-ICR has a reduced pin count and so uses a narrower digital bus to control the circuits.The second completed IA is the 4×5-inch second-generation 100 Gig long-haul DWDM transmission module.

“This [module] is considered an intermediate step with the almost immediate goal being to go to a CFP module,” says Gass.

 

OIF Publishes Transport SDN Framework Document

Key Findings from 2014 Demo Inspires Framework Architecture

Fremont, Calif. – May 19, 2015 –Following a 2014 prototype demonstration event, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has approved an SDN Framework whitepaper that paves the way for implementation of SDN in Carrier Networks. The whitepaper, titled “Framework for Transport SDN:  Components and APIs”, documents the SDN framework for multi-domain carrier networks.  It identifies critical open APIs for Transport SDN based on synthesis of the SDN layered architecture and the ITU-T ASON functional element model for optical network control.

SDN identifies interfaces separating infrastructure and control layers, and control layer from application layer.  The interface between infrastructure and control layers is termed the SouthBound Interface or SBI, the interface between control and application layers is termed the NorthBound Interface or NBI, and provides APIs to the application.

“In 2014, the prototype demonstration brought together multiple vendors and carriers to test cloud-bursting services, utilizing SDN principles and interfaces,” said Lyndon Ong of Ciena and co-chair of the OIF Market Awareness & Education Committee.  “The demonstration results factored into the development of a framework that allows SDN to be deployed over a carrier’s network with multiple, diverse domains.”

One of the key findings from the demonstration was that the separation introduced by the NBI and SBI enables SDN to be applied over greenfield (i.e., OpenFlow) and brownfield environments, allowing integration of domains controlled by management systems and domains using existing distributed control planes as well as centralized SDN.  A variety of SBI protocols could coexist in the carrier’s Transport SDN network, including the OpenFlow protocol, with extensions for optical networks.

NBI is an area of particular importance; by providing access to ASON functional elements, the NBI opens up access to the network control plane and provides greater programmability of services, improving the speed of service deployment and overall manageability of the network.  Functional elements accessible via NBI in this framework include Call Control, Connection Control, Topology and Path Computation.

The document assesses where existing protocols may be used to support NBI access.  In addition to existing protocols, there are benefits from defining new REST-based interfaces such as were prototyped in the demo, based on a common information model.

For a copy of the SDN framework document http://www.oiforum.com/documents/technical-white-papers/

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com

The OIF Launches New Integrated Photonics Projects

Two Implementation Agreements Published for Industry Use

Fremont, Calif. – May 7, 2015– In the wake of the Optical Internetworking Forum’s April quarterly meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, the organization announced that initial work has begun on technical specifications for high bandwidth optical modulators and receivers for coherent applications. Members also approved implementation agreements for 100G applications. The Q2 meeting also saw several OIF technical committees meet to continue the Forum’s work on the FlexEthernet and Common Electrical Interface (CEI) projects begun in 2014. Finally, based on the success of technical demonstrations in 2014, Forum members held initial discussions regarding an SDN-focused demo for 2016.

“Our members are working at full capacity right now,” said Karl Gass, of Qorvo and the OIF Physical and Link Layer Working Group vice chair, Optical. “With as many as 19 documents going to ballot this quarter alone we are completing technical work at an extremely fast pace. These two new electro-optical component projects will fill a gap in the line side component space, providing systems engineers more tools to increase channel capacity beyond 100Gb/s.”

The utilized coherent ASIC Baud Rate is no longer sufficient information to define the frequency response requirements for coherent electro-optical (EO) components now that the industry has embraced the use of preconditioning. The High Bandwidth Polarization Multiplexed Quadrature Optical Modulator project enables coherent electro-optical modulation of a wider optical spectrum per optical carrier defined in terms of frequency response. The Intradyne Coherent Receiver project proposes an improved RF high frequency response that enables coherent electro-optic demodulation of a wider optical spectrum per optical carrier.

Implementation Agreements Approved for Public

The IA for Integrated Dual Polarization Micro-Intradyne Coherent Receivers targets coherent 100G PM-QPSK applications with nominal symbol rates up to 32 GBaud in a CFP2 form factor. This IA also defines a low speed electrical interface incorporating an SPI bus for control of the TIAs in the coherent receiver.

The IA for Generation 2.0 100G Long-Haul DWDM Transmission Module-Electromechanical applies to optical line interface applications. The IA reduces the size and power consumption requirements by defining a 4×5 module that can be used for 100G long-haul DWDM transmission applications.

For more information go to http://www.oiforum.com/documents/implementation-agreements/

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

OIF demonstrates 50 Gbps signals using two modulations

Martin Rowe -March 30, 2015

Last week at OFC 2015, the OIF (Optical Internetworking Forum) demonstrated two 50 Gbps transmissions using both PAM4 and NRZ formats. Over the past year, PAM4 has emerged as what appears to be the modulation format of choice for many systems, although NRZ will still have its place.

PAM4, the topic of the Jitter Panel at DesignCon 2015, looks to become the modulation format for LR (long reach) and MR (medium reach) optical links. In particular, PAM4 looks to take over from NRZ for electrical links that lead up to an optical module and across backplanes. For XSR (extra-short reach) applications, NRZ is likely to live on in applications where signal-to-noise ratio is important such as within an optical module or in memory buses. The two videos below show demonstrations from the OIF booth.

In the first video, Scott Sommers of Molex shows a 50 Gbps PAM4 signal traveling over a 0.54 m Molex backplane. The signal is generated by an (AWG) arbitrary waveform generator from Keysight Technologies. The demo uses the AWG because silicon to generate the PAM4 signal isn’t yet available.

Silicon that can generate a 56 Gbps data stream using NRZ is available, and Jeff Twombly of Credo Semiconductor demonstrated it in the OIF booth. In this demonstration, a Credo 56G NRZ SerDes drove three demonstrations: a CEI-56G-VSR-NRZ channel, a CEI-56G-MR/LR-NRZ backplane and a CEI-56G-MR-NRZ passive copper cable. The video shows the signal passing through a 1 m length of copper cable.

OIF shows 56G electrical interfaces & CFP2-ACO

Gazettayte, Roy Rubenstein
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) is using the OFC exhibition taking place in Los Angeles this week to showcase the first electrical interfaces running at 56 Gigabit. Coherent optics in a CFP2 pluggable module is also being demonstrated.

“The most important thing for everyone is power consumption on the line card”

The OIF – an industry organisation comprising communications service providers, internet content providers, system vendors and component companies – is developing the next common electrical interface (CEI) specifications. The OIF is also continuing to advance fixed and pluggable optical module specifications for coherent transmission including the pluggable CFP2 (CFP2-ACO).

“These are major milestones that the [demonstration] efforts are even taking place,” says Nathan Tracy, a technologist at TE Connectivity and the OIF technical committee chair.

Tracy stresses that the CEI-56G specifications and the CFP2-ACO remain works in progress. “They are not completed documents, and what the demonstrations are not showing are compliance and interoperability,” he says.

Five CEI-56G specifications are under development, such as platform backplanes and links between a chip and an optical engine on a line card (see Table below).

Moving from the current 28 Gig electrical interface specifications to 56 Gig promises to double the interface capacity and cut electrical interface widths by half. “If we were going to do 400 Gigabit with 25 Gig channels, we would need 16 channels,” says Tracy. “If we can do 50 Gig, we can get it down to eight channels.”  Such a development will enable chassis to carry more traffic and help address the continual demand for more bandwidth, he says.

But doubling the data rate is challenging. “As we double the rate, the electrical loss or attenuation of the signal travelling across a printed circuit board is significantly impacted,” says Tracy. “So now our reaches have to get a lot shorter, or the silicon that sends and receives has to improve to significant higher levels.”

One of the biggest challenges in system design is thermal management

Moreover, chip designers must ensure that the power consumption of their silicon do not rise. “We have to be careful as to what the market will tolerate, as one of the biggest challenges in system design is thermal management,” says Tracy. “We can’t just do what it takes to get to 56 Gigabit.”

To this aim, the OIF is pursuing two parallel tracks: using 56 Gigabit non-return-to-zero (NRZ) signalling and 4-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM-4) which encodes two bits per symbol such that a 28 Gbaud signalling rate can be used. The 56 Gig NRZ uses simpler signalling but must deal with the higher associated loss, while PAM-4 does not suffer the same loss as it is similar to existing CEI-28 channels used today but requires a more complex design.

“Some [of the five CEI-56G specifications] use NRZ, some PAM-4 and some both,” says Tracy. The OIF will not say when it will complete the CEI-56G specifications. However, the projects are making similar progress while the OIF is increasing its interactions with other industry standards groups to shorten the overall timeline.

 

Source: OIF, Gazettabyte

Two of the CEI-56G specifications cover much shorter distances: the Extra Short Reach (XSR) and Ultra Short Reach (USR). According to the OIF, in the past it was unclear that the industry would benefit from interoperability for such short reaches.

“What is different at 56 Gig is that architectures are fundamentally being changed: higher data rates, industry demand for higher levels of performance, and changing fabrication technologies,” says Tracy. Such fabrication technologies include 3D packaging and multi-chip modules (MCMs) where silicon dies from different chip vendors may be connected within the module.

The XSR interface is designed to enable higher aggregate bandwidth on a line card which is becoming limited by the number of pluggable modules that can be fitted on the platform’s face plate. Density can be increased by using mid-board optics (an optical engine) placed closer to a chip. Here, fibre from the optical engine is fed to the front plate increasing the overall interface capacity.

The USR interface is to support stackable ICs and MCMs.

All are coming together in this pre-competitive stage to define the specifications, yet, at the same time, we are all fierce competitors

“The most important thing for everyone is power consumption on the line card,” says Tracy. “If you define these very short reach interfaces in such a way that these chips do not need as much power, then we have helped to enable the next generation of line card.”

The live demonstrations at OFC include a CEI-56G-VSR-NRZ channel, a CEI-56G-VSR-PAM QSFP compliance board, CEI-56G-MR/LR-PAM and CEI-56G-MR/LR-NRZ backplanes, and a CEI-56G-MR-NRZ passive copper cable.

The demonstrations reflects what OIF members are willing to show, as some companies prefer to keep their work private. “All are coming together in this pre-competitive stage to define the specifications, yet, at the same time, we are all fierce competitors,” says Tracy.

CFP2-ACO  

Also on display is working CFP2 analogue coherent optics (CFP2-ACO). The significance of coherent optics in a pluggable CFP2 is the promise of higher-density line cards. The CFP is a much bigger module and at most four can be fitted on a line card, while with the smaller CFP2, with its lower power consumption, up to eight modules are possible.

Using the CFP2-ACO, the coherent DSP-ASIC is external to the CFP2 module. Much work has been done to ensure that the electrical interface can support the analogue signalling between the CFP2 optics and the on-board DSP-ASIC, says Tracy.

At OFC, several companies have unveiled their CFP2-ACO products including Finisar, Fujitsu Optical Components, Oclaro and NEC, while Clariphy has announced a single-board reference design that includes its CL20010 DSP-ASIC and a CFP2-ACO slot.

 

OIF Members Lead the Industry in 56G Interfaces and Pluggable Coherent Optics

Collaboration Results in Groundbreaking Work

Fremont, Calif. – Feb. 24, 2015– Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) members are leading the market again in a live technology demonstration at OFC 2015 in Los Angeles, March 24-26, 2015, booth #613. The OIF Technology Showcase 2015 – It’s Happening Now – 56G Electrical Interfaces and Pluggable Coherent Optics will highlight the OIF‘s groundbreaking technology work. The Forum’s 4th generation Common Electrical Interface, CEI-56G, enables users to achieve new heights in CEI data rates. The technology showcase event will also demonstrate the OIF’s CFP2-ACO technology, a coherent optics transceiver module in a CFP2 form factor, an optimal medium-term solution to maximize faceplate density and minimize install costs for metro/regional DWDM and data center applications.

“The OIF has always demonstrated industry leadership, and this year at OFC is no exception,” says Nathan Tracy, technologist at TE Connectivity and the OIF technical committee chair. “From key industry presentations on Carrier, SDN, and physical layer topics, to demonstrating live hardware that conveys the progress on defining pluggable coherent optics, the OIF brings the sharpest minds in optical networking together to solve the toughest problems. Our work on 56Gb/s interoperable electrical channel agreements is addressing multiple modulation solutions. By attracting developers whose expertise range from test equipment to optics to electronics to connectors to equipment OEMs, the OIF is developing the ecosystems required by future datacomm architectures.”

Demos and Participants

Live and static displays at the OIF Technology Showcase 2015 – It’s Happening Now – 56G Electrical Interfaces and Pluggable Coherent Optics:

  • Live CEI-56G-VSR-NRZ Channel with Credo Semiconductor, Multilane, Tektronix, Yamaichi Electronics
  • Live CEI-56G-VSR-PAM QSFP Compliance Board with Anritsu, Molex, Multilane, TE Connectivity, Tektronix, Yamaichi Electronics
  • CEI-56G-VSR-PAM Optical Static Display (concept) with Molex, Multilane, TE Connectivity
  • Live CEI-56G-MR/LR-PAM Backplane with Keysight Technologies, Molex
  • Live CEI-56G-MR/LR-NRZ Backplane with Credo Semiconductor, Keysight Technologies, TE Connectivity
  • Live CEI-56G-MR-NRZ Passive Copper Cable with Credo Semiconductor, Keysight Technologies, Molex, TE Connectivity, Yamaichi Electronics
  • CFP2-Analog Coherent Optics – Pluggable Coherent Optics with Keysight Technologies, Multilane

Static displays of equipment aimed at developing the ecosystems for 56G electrical interfaces and pluggable coherent optics will include modules, test equipment, connectors, compliance boards, DSPs, drivers, transimpedance amplifiers and components from ClariPhy Communications, Finisar, Inphi, Kandou Bus, MACOM, Molex, MoSys, Multilane, NEC Corporation, Oclaro, Qorvo and TE Connectivity.

About the OIF Technology Showcase

OIF Technology Showcase 2015 – It’s Happening Now – 56G Electrical Interfaces and Pluggable Coherent Optics

OIF member companies will unite under the banner of the OIF to showcase multi-vendor participation in the OIF Technology Showcase 2015. The OIF’s Physical and Link Layer demonstration highlights live CEI-56G electrical interfaces. Also demonstrated is the emerging ecosystem for CFP2-ACO pluggable coherent optics, including subcomponents and test equipment.

A public demonstration will be on display at #OFC2015, March 24-26 in Los Angeles in booth #613. Additional info can be found at http://www.oiforum.com/meetings-and-events/oif-ofc-2015-2/

Presentations at OFC

Service Provider Summit – Panel 1: Value and Cost of Multi-Layer SDN
March 25, 2015 – 9:15am-10:45am
Panelist: Vishnu Shukla, OIF President

OIF Panel: Transport SDN – Clearing the Roadblocks to Wide-scale Commercial Deployment
March 25, 2015 – 2:00pm-3:00pm – EXPO Theater II
Moderator: Dave Brown, OIF VP of Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent
Lead Speaker: Vishnu Shukla, OIF President, Verizon
Speakers: Ruiquan Jing, China Telecom; Lyndon Ong, OIF MA&E Committee Co-Chair – Networking, Ciena; Jonathan Sadler, OIF Technical Committee Vice Chair, Coriant

OIF Panel: OIF CEI-56G – It’s Happening Now
March 26, 2015 -10:30am-11:30am – EXPO Theater II
Moderator: Nathan Tracy, OIF Technical Committee Chair, TE Connectivity
Speakers: Ed Frlan, OIF PLL Interoperability WG Chair, Semtech; Brian Holden, OIF MA&E Committee Co-Chair – PLL, Kandou Bus, S.A.; Tom Palkert, OIF PLL WG Vice Chair Electrical, MoSys

OIF Panel: System Architectures Using OIF CEI-56G Interfaces
March 26, 2015 – 11:30am-12:30pm – EXPO Theater II
Moderator: David Stauffer, OIF PLL WG Chair and Board Member, Kandou Bus, S.A.
Speakers: Ed Frlan, OIF PLL Interoperability WG Chair, Semtech; Edward Priest, Juniper Networks; Nathan Tracy, OIF Technical Committee Chair, TE Connectivity

 

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

OIF Tackles Incremental Bandwidth Increases with FlexEthernet

Significant Strides Made on SDN, APIs, CEI

As members of the Optical Internetworking Forum gathered last month for their first quarterly meeting of 2015, the organization launched a new project to enable flexible Ethernet by providing a toolkit to expand the utility of existing and future Ethernet interfaces.  The new project, labeled FlexEthernet, provides a way for Ethernet equipment to more efficiently utilize optical link bandwidth. FlexEthernet toolkit provides channelization, bonding and sub-rate functionality to connect one or more Ethernet MACs using standard Ethernet PMDs between equipment, either directly or through transport links.

Building upon the OIF’s multi-link gearbox (MLG) work that addresses multilane configuration, FlexEthernet provides support for speeds in between and beyond the fixed speeds currently defined, driving a wider set of applications needed by data centers and carriers.

“Ethernet connections between routers or transport gear needs to be flexible by providing incremental increases in bandwidth,” said Nathan Tracy of TE Connectivity and the OIF’s Technical Committee chair.  “The proposed FlexEthernet toolkit bridges the gap between previous, current and next-gen rates.

At the quarterly meeting, OIF members prepared to approve the OIF’s SDN Framework, a technical white paper identifying components and interfaces requiring standardization to provide a cohesive SDN app development framework designed around Web 2.0 technologies. Members also made progress on developing implementation agreements for SDN APIs addressing Topology, Service Request, Connection Request and Path Computation.

“The OIF is ahead of the industry in identifying specific work that needs to be done to bring SDN to fruition,” said Jonathan Sadler, Coriant and the OIF’s Technical Committee vice chair.   “The API documents are the outcome of the prototype SDN demonstration that took place late last year. We have motivated, enthusiastic members working hard to finalize these APIs for service provider deployment.”

Members of the Physical and Link Layer Working group held a one-day interim meeting in addition to their usual three-day meeting discussing PAM4 and NRZ specifications as they continued work on the multiple CEI-56G projects.   The CEI-56G development work will increase the data rates by a factor of two over the data rate of CEI-28G while also defining new application spaces.  The group will hold another interim meeting before the Q2 meeting in April. For more information on the OIF’s CEI work see http://www.oiforum.com/technical-work/current-oif-work/

About the OIF
The OIF facilitates the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services. Members collaborate to drive Implementation Agreements (IAs) and interoperability demonstrations to accelerate and maximize market adoption of advanced internetworking technologies. OIF work applies to optical and electrical interconnects, optical component and network processing technologies, and to network control and operations including software defined networks and network function virtualization. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Launched in 1998, the OIF is the only industry group uniting representatives from across the spectrum of networking, including many of the world’s leading service providers, system vendors, component manufacturers, software and testing vendors. Information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com.

OIF’s FlexEthernet Project Targets DCI

News Analysis, Light Reading
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large

February 12, 2015

Internet content providers and other network operators are looking for much fatter connections between their data centers than the current Ethernet service definitions can provide. So the Optical Internetworking Forum is stepping up with a new project to define more flexible Ethernet options for using the entire capacity of a given optical link. (See OIF Aims to Enable More Flexible Ethernet.)

Known as FlexEthernet, the project will establish a way for Ethernet equipment to use a variety of different tools such as channelization, bonding and sub-rate functionality to create those faster connections in a standard way, says Nathan Tracy, chairman of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) ‘s Technical Committee and manager of industry standards for TE Connectivity (NYSE: TEL).

The idea is to supplement the Ethernet standard definitions developed by the IEEE with a common approach that can be brought to market more quickly, in time to meet the booming demand for faster connections between data centers, Tracy says.

“This uses the IEEE’s Ethernet in more flexible ways,” he notes.

Large Internet content providers are among those clamoring for the new flexibility, Tracy admits. While he doesn’t name specific companies, it’s apparent that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Facebook are driving their own networking agendas and would benefit from this kind of connectivity.

One common feature set within FlexEthernet would allow a given link between two points to consume the full bandwidth of that link, beyond the published data rates that are typically 10 Gbit/s or 100 Gbit/s. “What FlexEthernet will enable a user to do is to start running data at the maximum rate of the link and then dial that down until it reaches an error rate that is acceptable,” Tracy says. “The traffic will go beyond the defined Ethernet service, but it will still look like Ethernet as the data goes on and off the link. That is one of the first apps of FlexEthernet and it is the one that drove this conversation a year ago.”

Another possible FlexEthernet option is to enable creation of custom data rates by using bonding of multiple rates — offering a 200Gbit/s service by bonding together two 100Gbit/s lanes, for example. The traditional way of doing this involves link aggregation, Tracy says, but that wouldn’t deliver the full 200 Gbit/s.

The IEEE would be expected to ultimately develop a standard approach to 200 Gbit/s, but that could be a couple of years away and, in the meantime, a standard approach to offering that kind of connection can be defined by the OIF.

“This would allow interim data rates for niches or specific needs until it is determined there is a broad market potential and broadly available technology” to do it via IEEE standards, Tracy says. The standards process isn’t forced ahead of what could be more efficient options in the long run.

FlexEthernet using an extension of the OIF’s multi-link gearbox will also allow the bundling of 10Gbit/s lines together so they can be supported by one 50-gig pin on an ASIC. This makes more efficient use of the limited number of pins on a given ASIC, Tracy notes.

The new project was launched at the OIF’s quarterly meeting earlier this year, along with the preparation of the OIF’s SDN Framework, a technical white paper which lays out the components and interfaces that will need to be standardized for SDN. That work is focused on establishing an applications development framework. (See SDN Tests Go Swimmingly, Says OIF and OIF Launches SDN Implementation Project.)

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

Ethernet speed tuning goal of OIF FlexEthernet project

Author Stephen Hardy,
Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

February 12, 2015

Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) members decided last month at their first quarter 2015 meeting to launch a project that would enable systems designers and their customers to tune the transmission speeds of their Ethernet equipment to rates not specified in existing Ethernet standards.

The FlexEthernet project will build on the OIF’s previous development of the multi-link gearbox (MLG), a device that mitigates differences in the number of lanes between chip interfaces. For example, the MLG can translate between a chip that sends a 100-Gbps signal across 10 lanes of 10 Gbps and another that operates at 4×25 Gbps and allow the signal to be recovered in its original 10-lane form (see “OIF launches new interconnect, 100G projects” and “AppliedMicro demos OIF-compliant 100G/10G multi-link gearbox chip”). The new project will create ways of using channelization, bonding, and sub-rate functionality to enable data rates to be adjusted either above or below current Ethernet standards.

The effort responds to requests from data center operators for a way to maximize the capacity of existing network infrastructures, according to Nathan Tracy of TE Connectivity and the OIF’s Technical Committee chair. For example, if a particular link couldn’t support a 40 Gigabit Ethernet connection due to reach or interference factors, FlexEthernet would enable the user to reduce the transmission rate to the highest the link would support without having to drop all the way to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Tracy said. Conversely, if an operator wanted to transmit at a higher rate than 100 Gigabit Ethernet, FlexEthernet would enable that as well.

Transmission rates of 200 Gbps would be possible today if the FlexEthernet project were complete, Tracy added.

However, it’s not complete – and, as is customary among OIF spokesmen, Tracy declined to predict when the FlexEthernet development project would finish.

In other action at the quarterly meeting, the OIF membership moved closer to approving its SDN Framework document and finishing development of implementation agreements for software-defined networking (SDN) APIs addressing topology, service request, connection request, and path computation (see “OIF to explore Transport SDN, CFP2” and “OIF looks to solidify Transport SDN APIs”). The Physical and Link Layer Working group also met to discuss the application of PAM-4 and NRZ modulation formats for various CEI-56G projects.

The groups will meet again in April.