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Data center storage and telecos requirements are increasing by more than 50 percent annually with digital information projected to increase to 40 zettabytes by 2020 and 163 zettabytes by 2025. There are several key contributors to this growth, including a wave of transitions to cloud storage, open systems, edge computing, machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence.
Virtual reality has only begun to gain traction on a wide scale. And, the reality of driverless vehicles going mainstream in the foreseeable future will place exponential strains on data center infrastructures.
Planned obsolescence is always a fact of life for hyperscale data centers that on average upgrade the overall network architecture about every two years to keep pace with bandwidth demands.
The data center supply chain has stepped up to create ever more powerful, energy efficient and scalable solutions. At present, 100G technologies deliver the fastest connections for Ethernet links. Implementations of both 100G and 400G Ethernet technologies will continue to rise in coming years, with the latter ultimately taking the lead to become the prevailing speed in switch chips and network platforms.
The factors affecting the development of 400G are mainly application-driven and technology-driven. The application drivers include 5G high-speed transmission, market requirements for data centers, cloud computing, and high-definition video transmission. Technology drivers include development of technologies in the market and product standardization.
400G is sometimes used to describe a solution that offers 400G of capacity via two 200G wavelengths using traditional 32-35Gbaud coherent technology. This can more accurately be defined as “dual-carrier 400G” or “dual-wavelength 400G”.
400G is also used to describe next-generation coherent optical solutions that support a range of capacities, which include 400G capacity on a single wavelength (e.g. “single-carrier 400G”). This is the most common meaning of 400G and is like how “200G” is used to describe 200G-wavelength capable solutions and “100G” to describe 100G-wavelength solutions.
With the implementation of 400GbE, network operators will be able to increase their demand for bandwidth, satisfying all business stakeholders, as the faster internet speeds will assist in creating an overall positive experience when using the internet. Especially in a world where the internet is present in nearly all aspects of life, 400 GbE will allow networks to stay ahead with the expectations of having fast and seamless internet performance. With the current commercial deployment of 5G and the growing rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as the growing trend of video streaming and virtual gaming, 400GbE will be readily accepted, with networks eagerly ready.
The speeds which 400GbE will provide is revolutionary for ethernet capability and will change the way organizations and networks perform immensely. Along with increased speed and bandwidth, 400GbE will be able to deliver optimal bandwidth at the correct density. Furthermore, 400 GbE has driven the adoption and growth of new pluggable optical modules and switches.
5G Demanding 400G Ethernet:
An analysis points out that 5G technology needs edge computing architecture, which brings cloud resources—compute, storage and networking—closer to applications, devices and users. While, the edge computing needs more bandwidth, support for more devices on the network, and greater security to protect and manage the data. For example, a 4G radio system can support up to only 2,000 active devices in a square kilometer, while 5G could support up to 100,000 active devices in the same range. With 400G technology offering more bandwidth, more devices and applications could be supported in 5G. Nowadays, 5G has begun wide deployment in 2019. A research indicates that cloud-based data centers will take 92% of the next-generation data center workload while the traditional data centers will only process the meager 8% by 2021. These objective requirements for higher data rates drive 400G development greatly. It is estimated that 400G will be the prevailing speed in switch chips and network platforms in the coming years. All forms of Internet applications are moving towards video. It is estimated that more than 80% of the traffic is video. Video is an especially important platform for everyone to interact in the future, especially real-time video streaming, such as multi-party video conferences. High-definition videos (such as 4K videos) need more bandwidth and less latency compared with the previous normal ones featuring lower definition.
Influences of 400G:
Current market of 400G:
With visibility into how quickly 400G deployments are ramping in the industry, we are seeing first-hand how the optical networking landscape is changing, and how network providers are moving more quickly to stay ahead in this new on-demand, content driven environment we are living in today.
The reason for this strong 400G ramp is the surprising speed with which content providers can deploy new technology. Whether for DCI for massive transfer of content, enterprise access to cloud-based IT applications, or over-the-top high definition video streaming, network providers rely on coherent optical technology to enable scalable, high capacity connectivity to end users and extend the life of fiber assets.
400GbE will provide an array of benefits for all industries, including those involved in test equipment, service industries (including telecommunication providers and cloud service providers), internet mega-corporations (those with several distributed businesses) as well as any business which relies on high-bandwidth applications.
Cloud service providers will be able to use 400GbE to meet the density needs that their data center require, considering that most are experiencing rapid growth due to the needs from society regarding internet requirements. Similarly with telecommunication providers, with data suggesting that the average person will have 3.4 connected mobile devices in 2020, it is vital for telecom companies to keep up with such demand. Telecommunication providers are the main industry driving towards the deployment of 400GbE due to its ever-growing server speed requirements. For both the cloud and telecom industries, 400GbE will eliminate all previous ‘bottleneck’ issues which may have arisen prior.
Future of 400G:
At 400G, we certainly have not reached the limit of what we can achieve from a wavelength and network capacity perspective. As the next phase of optical networking unfolds and adapts to end-user needs, we look forward to seeing the benefits brought by 400G and higher capacity solutions to our customers, and the new innovations these networks will enable resulting in changes to our quality of life moving forward.